Updated: August 08, 2012
New hurdles but strong hopes for Tas Forest Agreement
On Monday 6 August 2012, conservation, industry and union groups involved in the Tasmanian forest negotiations – known as ‘the signatories’ – reported to the Tasmanian Premier, Deputy Premier, the leader of the Tasmanian Greens, and the Commonwealth Environment Minister Tony Burke on their progress. (Click here to read the full statement).
Two weeks ago, the signatories had reached agreement on a potential new reserve scenario that protected forests and provided a sustainable supply of wood for the forestry industry. The precise wood supply needed to be confirmed through detailed computer modelling by the state Forestry Tasmania.
However, this modelling used newly available raw data inputs and it emerged that there was less suitable timber in production forests than previous modelling has shown. This has thrown up a range of new challenges that signatories now have to work through if they are to reach a final agreement.
Given these new challenges, but recognising the progress made so far, both the Tasmanian and Australian Governments have agreed that negotiations should continue over this week. Tasmanian Forestry Minister Bryan Green and Federal Environment Minister Burke have also agreed to assist directly in the negotiations, and will be meeting with the negotiators later this week.
While issues of wood supply and new reserves still present significant hurdles, and need more work, much progress has been made on other key issues and there is significant common ground.
Signatory groups have committed to working together and use the assistance of governments over the coming days to land a final, historic agreement. The Wilderness Society will be working day and night to make sure we have the best chance of securing the protection of our iconic, wild Tasmanian forests.
Meanwhile, the already slim prospect of construction of the Tamar Valley pulp mill was dealt another blow this week with an announcement from the board of Gunns.
Many people across Tasmania will breathe a sigh or relief with this announcement, but will continue watch future developments closely in the hope the project is abandoned completely in favour of alternate plantation processing options that can enjoy broad community support.
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Tasmania Inc
130 Davey Street, TAS, 7000 Australia
Phone: (03) 6224 1550 | Fax: (03) 6223 5112