Media Releases - 12 March 2021

You must end these logging fires, Premier Gutwein

  • Forestry Tasmania legally allowed to start logging fires—everyone else expected to follow higher-bar laws
  • Polluting public airspace & failing to inform the public further evidence of FT’s lack of social licence
  • Premier Gutwein must end the rogue practice—which could be done with the click of a mouse
A logging coop in the Styx Valley. Image: Vica Bayley

“When Forestry Tasmania (FT) ignites these logging fires, the community is forced to literally inhale FT’s unsustainability. Brand Tasmania goes up in smoke every time these logging fires are started by FT,” said Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society Tasmania. 

“These aren't ‘controlled burns’ or ‘regen burns’—they're logging fires—an irresponsible way to get rid of tonnes of wreckage of what was once Gondwanan forests—dumping the 'economic externality' of destroyed forests into the public airspace. Meanwhile, grapegrowers, beermakers, tourism operators and everyone else has FT’s pollution forced on them at peak tourism season and during harvest time.

“These logging fires aren’t necessary for reseeding forests and shouldn’t be happening in the first place because the island’s High Conservation Value forests should be protected from logging. These forests have a rainforest understorey. Bushfires in them are exceptionally rare. Logging these forests, and then burning the wreckage left behind increases the fire risk for the surrounding area, it doesn’t reduce it.  

“This specific deliberately lit fire, in a forest that rarely burns, has now escaped the logged area and is now spreading towards the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. FT aren’t just risking the forests it’s logging, it’s putting at risk the adjoining World Heritage Area—which lost 100,000ha from climate-change-driven fires in 2019. 

“The plantation forestry sector doesn’t engage in this practice. These anti-social logging fires are lawful and that’s the problem: they are further evidence of woeful forestry laws and regulations that allow FT to behave like a rogue actor, while everyone else is expected to follow higher-bar laws. Just because something may be legal, doesn’t mean it’s sustainable, or socially acceptable. 

“With over 170 hectares of land destroyed and counting while this logging fire is burning out of control, it’s the hallmark of unsustainable logging. We’re asking Premier Gutwein to end this regressive practice, which is another reason to fast-track the forestry industry out of our superlative forests to plantation-based forestry instead,” said Mr Allen. 

Tom Allen, 0434 614 323

Authorised by Tom Allen, 130 Davey St, Hobart