Media Releases - 20 February 2020

Tasmania’s new ‘Premier for Climate Change’ logging away his credibility

  • Premier’s government ripped-up forest agreement yet now he’s complaining
  • Ta Ann must stop referring to defunct ‘market compact’ - the TFA is dead
  • Premier Gutwein should set a timeline for the logging industry’s transition to plantations 
Logging Tasmania's precious old-growth forests has to stop. Image: Rob Blakers.

The Wilderness Society says that Premier Gutwein is complaining about the consequences of his own policy, having pleaded with environmentalists to “leave loggers alone”. 

“Premier Gutwein’s government tore up the Tasmanian Forest Agreement (TFA). Now he’s complaining about protests at the continued logging of forests that should be protected. This is like throwing away the keys then complaining the car won’t start,” said Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society Tasmania. 

“As ‘Premier for Climate Change’, Mr Gutwein must know Tasmania’s native forests are finite, not renewable and logging them is anything but sustainable, which is why ‘Sustainable’ Timber Tasmania is likely to fail to secure the gold standard of forestry management for the second time.

“Logging native forests increases bushfire risk, while leaving them intact better protects Tasmania against future bushfires. Caring for forests by protecting them is the best thing for Tasmania’s climate change response, wildlife protection, water cycle and its supposedly green brand.

“Ta Ann Tasmania (TAT) is a subsidiary of Malaysian logging company Ta Ann, which is heavily involved in logging the tropical forests of Sarawak on the island of Borneo. It has been in Tasmania since 2005. TAT continues to point to the defunct TFA as cover for the destruction wrought by its supplier ‘Sustainable’ Timber Tasmania (STT) in takayna/Tarkine and other Tasmanian forests.

“The ‘market compact’ is defunct because the Liberal government voided it when they ripped up the TFA. The Wilderness Society wrote to inform Ta Ann of this many years ago.

“This week, we have again written to Ta Ann Tasmania requesting that it cease reference to the compact and remove reference to it from the company’s website, marketing collateral and future correspondence. While the formal compact is defunct, the company must recommit to its previous guarantee that it will not accept any wood that could be logged from the original Future Reserve Land, since renamed Future Potential Production Forests. To do so would cross a line.

“If Premier Gutwein cares for forestry’s long-term survival, he should look to Victoria, where the industry has a transition timeline out of native forest to plantations. Victoria has the makings of a commercially viable, socially prudent and environmentally urgent solution that would also be good for Tasmanian society. Premier Gutwein should set a similar timetable and commit to protecting the 356,000 hectares of reserves the taxpayer paid millions to the logging industry to exit, protect and not log. 

“The 5,700 jobs figure the Premier referred to is misleading because it erroneously combines plantation-based jobs, which we don’t oppose, with native forest-based jobs, which number just over a thousand*. More than three times as many people work in Hobart’s retail sector.

“Bottom line: the outstanding 356,000 hectares of high conservation value forests must be properly and permanently protected,” said Mr Allen.

For comment: Tom Allen, 0434 614 323

*Jobs figures come from the 2018 Forests and Wood Products Association report (p19), Socio-economic impacts of the forest industry Tasmania