News - 02 July 2021

Protecting Forestry Tasmania Or Protecting Remaining Leatherwood Trees

  • Stockholm Syndrome: TBA locked in an abusive relationship with FT, which it continues to defend instead of standing up for beekeepers

  • Permanently protecting rainforest species Leatherwood from logging just another net-positive reason all Tasmania’s High Conservation Value forests should be protected

  • Gutwein Govt paralysed on Leatherwood protection, despite Leatherwood’s critical role in agricultural expansion

The Tasmanian Beekeeping Association (TBA) is more interested in protecting Forestry Tasmania (trading as Sustainable Timber Tasmania) than in protecting the island’s remaining leatherwood trees from continued logging, despite them being the island’s most agriculturally-important plant species.

The TBA recently said that “STT should not be condemned”. This follows an opinion piece by Ruth Forrest MLC, in which she wrote “Leatherwood trees are increasingly becoming casualties of forestry operations of Sustainable Timber Tasmania to meet what appears to be unsustainable contracts for native hardwood.”

“The TBA seems to have a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome: It’s locked in an abusive relationship with Forestry Tasmania, which it continues to defend, instead of standing up for its members’ livelihoods by calling for leatherwood to be protected from logging,” said Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society Tasmania.

“The MoU between the TBA and FT is a joke and does nothing to stop leatherwood being logged as the recent 7.30 Report coverage made clear. The fable of Tasmania’s leatherwood, with 80% logged out of existence, is like a modern-day version of Dr Seuss’s The Lorax but in this instance, it’s fact not fiction and the ending doesn’t look happy (although it still could be).

“Protecting leatherwood is yet another net-positive reason the island’s High Conservation Value forests, including rainforests, should be permanently protected and, like New Zealand did in 2001, Tasmania transition to a plantation-based forestry model,” said Mr Allen.

“The Gutwein Government seems paralysed about how to protect leatherwood from logging, despite the species being critical for its agricultural expansion plans,” said Jenni McLeod of the Bee Collective, itself a member of the Southern Tasmanian Beekeepers Association.

“The island’s apiarists have had enough of being treated like mushrooms and want their interests properly advocated for.

“If the Gutwein Government still has ambitions to dramatically expand the island’s agriculture industry, it needs to get serious about protecting leatherwood. Without proper protection, Forestry Tasmania will continue to chip away at the foundations of Tasmania’s agriculture industry. At the moment, the government is setting itself up to fail its own 2050 AgriVision target. That’s not leadership,” said Ms McLeod.

Contacts: Tom Allen, 0434 614 323; Jenni McLeod, 0448 515 867