Updated: February 27, 2013
Newman declares war on native forests
MEDIA RELEASE FEBRUARY 27 2013
The Wilderness Society today called on the Newman Government to reconsider its decision to send the chainsaws into up to 2 million hectares of high conservation value forests throughout Queensland, a decision that threatens the state’s timber industry.
Yesterday Senator Larissa Waters released confidential Queensland Government correspondence explicitly stating that the Queensland Government would be reneging on commitments by the previous Government to protect 2 million hectares of native forests in south east Queensland, western Queensland and in central and northern Queensland.
“This is a short-sighted and counterproductive decision by the Queensland Government that undermines past agreements between conservation groups and the timber industry,” said Wilderness Society National Director Lyndon Schneiders.
“Timber imports and the high dollar are challenging enough for the industry without stoking a conflict that was resolved a decade ago. If logging occurs in these areas, Queensland timber will become synonymous with forest destruction. The market has little taste for wood sourced from native forest destruction, and the Queensland timber industry will lose markets.
“The Wilderness Society is a signatory to the landmark South East Queensland Forest Agreement (SEQFA), signed in 1999, which has delivered a stable investment climate for the industry over the past 15 years.”
The SEQFA protected 420,000 hectares of native forest, with additional reserves and a phase out of logging of public native forests by 2025, established hardwood plantations as a future industry resource, and provided market access and a conflict free business environment.
“For reasons best known to the Queensland Government, it wants to reignite the forests war after more than 15 years of peace,” Mr Schneiders said.
“Conservationists and the industry worked hard to leave the conflicts of the ’80s and ’90s behind and the Wilderness Society is committed to making these agreements last. The stark alternative is a lose-lose situation for the forestry industry and Queensland’s environment in which the market place will be asked to reject timber produced from forests that have been previously identified as worthy of national park protection.
“We understand access to existing hardwood plantations is a key issue. The Wilderness Society will work with key stakeholders, including SEQFA signatory Timber Queensland, to convince the Queensland Government to abandon this foolhardy path.”
For further comment contact:
Wilderness Society National Director Lyndon Schneiders on 0451 633 200
Wilderness Society Forest Campaign Manager Warrick Jordan on 0451 633 197
Wilderness Society Queensland Campaign Manager Dr Tim Seelig on 0439 201 183
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Inc