Updated: August 07, 2011
At long last, a pathway to Tassie forest protection
For over 30 years, people across Australia have aspired to see Tasmania's unique and important forests protected from the threat of logging. They have protested, rallied, lobbied, negotiated, photographed, researched and written about these precious forests.
Now, a new agreement can deliver the protection we've all worked so hard to achieve.
On Sunday August 7, the Federal and Tasmanian Governments signed the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement (Download the full agreement in pdf) The Federal government will provide crucial money for workers and contractors to exit native forest logging, and the Tasmanian government will progress the necessary legal changes to protect forests as formal reserves like national parks.
Pathway to protection
This agreement provides a pathway to protect iconic native forests including the Styx, Upper Florentine and Weld Valleys, the Tarkine, the Great Western Tiers, the North-East Highlands, including the Blue Tier, South Sister and the Eastern Tiers including Wielangta. Lesser known areas like Panama Forests, Bruny Island, West Wellington and Reedy Marsh will also be protected.
No money for pulp mill
Importantly, the agreement contains an assurance that no Federal money will help build the pulp mill. In a statement of fact the agreement says “... that no Commonwealth funds will be paid to progress the Bell Bay pulp mill project.”
Forestry workers and some rural communities are living through tough times as the native forest logging industry has continued to collapse. We welcome the financial support the agreement provides for workers and contractors to exit the industry with dignity.
The Federal Government will also fund a plan to diversify Tasmania's regional economies, offering an exciting chance to revitalise regional Tasmania and take advantage of new opportunities from protecting forests, restoring and reconnecting the landscape and thinking long term for Tasmania's future.
While this isn't the end of the process and much work is still to be done, it provides clear agreement to reform Tasmanian legislation to ensure formal protection for forests and a reduction in the amount of logging in native forests.
The Wilderness Society is calling for support from all political parties and the Tasmanian Legislative Council. Their support for this agreement will secure assistance for struggling workers, a new future for the industry and better protection for our environment and climate.
There is a lot of work still to do, but the agreement provides a much more secure framework for full implementation of this once-in-a-generation opportunity and we will work to ensure all elements of the Statement of Principles agreement are delivered. This includes reform of the way plantations are managed and increased protection for forests on private land.
Along with other environment groups, the Wilderness Society will continue to engage with unions, forestry industry representatives, government and the community to finalise further details and deliver on the promise of this agreement.
With your support, we'll be working to take this announcement to the next step, ensure the agreement is honoured and follow the pathway to the protection for Tassie's native forests.
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For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Tasmania Inc
130 Davey Street, TAS, 7000 Australia
Phone: (03) 6224 1550 | Fax: (03) 6223 5112