Updated: May 17, 2011
The Wilderness Society suspends involvement in Tasmanian forests talks
The Wilderness Society Tasmania Inc.
18 May 2011
The Wilderness Society has suspended its involvement in the Tasmanian forests talks because of a failure of leadership from the State and Federal Governments. The governments have failed to help implement the interim outcomes of the historic peace deal, signed between industry, unions and conservationists last year.
As a signatory, the society remains fully committed to the agreed principles. Spokesperson Vica Bayley today called on both the Federal and State Governments to embrace the win-win opportunities the Agreement presents for Tasmania and commit to negotiate with signatories over its urgent implementation.
“These talks began over a year ago, agreement was reached eight months ago and government appointed facilitator Bill Kelty handed down an interim report over six weeks ago, yet there is still no official response to Mr Kelty’s report and real outcomes are yet to be delivered,” said Mr Bayley.
"Signatories to the agreement are under immense pressure while both governments fail to act. High conservation value forests continue to fall, struggling timber workers have no exit assistance and neither Government has committed to leading the much needed reforms."
Government failure is demonstrated by:
- the lack of a moratorium across the entire high conservation value reserve proposal
- the absence of implementation funding in the Federal budget
- the lack of interim funding for worker and contractor exit assistance
- the lack of funding for sawlog buyouts to reduce logging pressure
- the fact there has been no formal response to Bill Kelty’s interim report
- the lack of strong public commitments to implement the principles agreement, including legislated protection for forests
Mr Bayley said that the society will return to negotiations when both governments show they are serious about the peace process and commit senior government ministers to negotiate a concrete plan and timetable for the implementation of the Statement of Principles.
"This agreement presents a once in a generation opportunity for governments to oversee the resolution to a long running, divisive issue. It offers a win-win for Tasmania, protecting forests and restructuring the ailing industry towards a new future."
"Governments can’t be allowed to squander this opportunity. They must commit senior ministers and negotiate with signatories to deliver the outcomes of the principles agreement."
For comment contact Vica Bayley, Tasmanian Campaign Manager, 0400 644 939
For further information contact Alex Tibbitts, Media Adviser, 0416 420 168
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Tasmania Inc
130 Davey Street, TAS, 7000 Australia
Phone: (03) 6224 1550 | Fax: (03) 6223 5112