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Tasmania's Forests

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 1 June 2023

Tags: Forests, Native Forest Logging

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Speaker, I am sorry that Dr Broad has left the Chamber because I want to correct so many of the mistruths in his speech. There is no truth to the statements he made.

We have 356 000 hectares of carbon rich nationally accredited, biodiverse forests that were created as part of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement. They were created to be future reserve forests. When the Liberals came in, in 2014, they tore up the Tasmanian Forest Agreement and recreated them under legislation as future potential production forests. The FPPF land is the same land as the 356 000 hectares of forests that was set aside to be protected for ever as reserve forests.

These are the forests that the Liberals and the Labor Party are baying to get back into. This is the time they have chosen to have a fight and to bring back the dark days of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement period, before the conservationists and the forestry sector came together. The forestry sector came on its knees to the conservation movement after the global financial crisis, after the markets campaign, where activists and conservationists were making it abundantly clear to purchasers in Japan and other countries that they were buying a lie, that it was native forest, ancient forest, that was being chopped down and sent to them as pulp to use for paper.

The Japanese rejected that notion. They rejected the idea that they would turn ancient carbon rich forests into paper. The push was on for the logging movement to start to drag itself into some form of sustainability. We nearly had that moment. The Tasmanian Forest Agreement started the conversation about protecting our beautiful carbon rich biodiverse heritage. It is a gift to the planet that we have a grave responsibility to protect in our climate-heating world.

The other mistruth Dr Broad continues to say, and so does the minister, is that a clear felled forest holds the carbon just like the existing forest in its natural state. That is untrue. Sixty per cent of everything that is clear felled by Forestry Tasmania remains on the floor and is then burnt, 10 per cent of it is mill waste. So 70 per cent of our beautiful precious forests that are our carbon banks is wasted and burnt. Immediately the carbon is released. Twenty-four per cent goes into paper that lasts for about one to two years. Five per cent into LVL veneer products and just one per cent goes into the tables and chairs and timber for houses that the minister and Dr Broad like to talk about as though that is what we turn our ancient forests into.

If only that were true and if only all that carbon was not released and all the habitat for our biodiversity lost. That is what happens under Forestry Tasmania. The Liberals and Labor Party together are united in wanting to go in harder and cut down more trees. In a climate crisis, Dr Broad is talking about the mosaic pattern in the landscape. That mosaic pattern is dangerous for regional communities. The science is abundantly clear that patchwork forestry coups and woolly regrowing trees and shrubs are much more flammable. Logged forests, clear felled forests, which is the only way Sustainable Timber Tasmania works, dry out. What was a moist place that would buffer regional communities from fire becomes far more flammable.

We are creating incendiary bombs around our regional communities. We saw that happening around Geeveston in the 2019 fires. I saw it happen. I saw it across the river. I saw it burning for months. Incredibly there was no loss of life. That was due to the hard work of volunteers that kept them safe. The way to keep people safer in a climate-heating future is not to log native forests.

What we have in Victoria is a dangerous situation for Tasmania. Although the Andrews Government will end native forest logging in 2024, we are concerned about deals the Government, Mr Ellis and Mr Barnett, are doing with the Victorian Government to give sawmillers access to our carbon-rich forests. They would love to keep going. They would just take more of our wood. We are deeply concerned at what is in front of us and so will young people be. So is everyone who is on that list.

If the Liberals and the Labor Party think that Tasmanians do not care deeply about this, they are wrong. The National Forest Products Association did a survey about four or five years ago on what Australians thought about native forest logging. Almost 70 per cent of people rejected the idea, because they know how dangerous it is. They know that loss of habitat is the greatest threat to species loss on this planet. The swift parrots in Tasmania are in crisis. In the past four years 2250 hectares have been lost to clear felling. It is because of the logging of their habitat by Forestry Tasmania that this is happening.

The Greens have a plan to transition workers, another lie that Dr Broad peddles. We have a plan. They can be used -

Mr SPEAKER - No, you cannot accuse another member.

Dr WOODRUFF - It is another falsehood. It is a falsehood, correct, and -

Mr SPEAKER - You withdraw the word -

Dr WOODRUFF - I withdraw the word 'lie'. It is a falsehood Dr Broad perpetrates.