Media Releases - 06 March 2024

Labor announces short-sighted forest policy

Logging coupe in Tasmania
Logging coupe, Florentine Valley, Lutruwita / Tasmania

The Tasmanian Labor party has announced that, if elected, it will extend native forest logging contracts in that state by 13 years, out to 2040.

The Wilderness Society has expressed deep concern about the policy, saying that it is critical that high conservation value native forests in the state are protected from logging.

In its policy, Tasmanian Labor also announced a review into ‘available resources’. Given this requirement, how logging contracts can be extended to 2040 with any certainty is unclear, especially in a context when it has been well established that ‘wood volumes’ are running out, and the market is rejecting timber logged from special and iconic native forests.

Much of this wood, especially any that may be logged from the so-called ‘Future Potential Production Forest’, is unmarketable in the current timber market due to its contentious nature and lack of credible FSC certification.

Questions of illegality plague Forestry Tasmania, with the state-run logging agency facing a number of legal cases. Meanwhile, forest protest activity continues, with the heavy-handed response from authorities seeing forest defenders being unreasonably jailed right now. Peaceful protestors are also facing unjust bail conditions. These heavy handed responses are also a result of the recent anti-protest laws passed by the Tasmanian Parliament in 2022, that were opposed by unions and environment and social justice groups. These laws must be repealed.

Locking in a logging supply contract until 2040 during a worsening climate biodiversity crisis, without a moment of consideration of what the biodiversity impacts could be, is reckless and irresponsible.

The Wilderness Society stands to protect forests across Lutruwita / Tasmania, including all of the high conservation value forests that were intended to be reserved over a decade ago.

Alice Hardinge, Campaigns Manager for Wilderness Society Tasmania, said,

“Labor says it is listening to the logging industry. But is it listening to the Tasmanian community?

“Community members and environment groups who care about nature in Lutruwita / Tasmania are being ignored by this state’s politicians.

“It is deeply concerning to see Labor announce such a short-sighted forest policy, without proper consideration of biodiversity impacts during a worsening climate biodiversity crisis. All the while, the legality of Tasmania’s logging is being questioned before the courts, and peaceful forest protestors are receiving unjust bail conditions and being jailed.

“Lutruwita / Tasmania’s forests need protection, not more destruction. And Tasmanians deserve to be represented by a Parliament that cares about Lutruwita / Tasmania’s precious forests, communities, and the future.”

Authorised by Alice Hardinge, 130 Davey Street Hobart