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Poll results show less than one quarter of Tasmanians support Premier’s plan to log forest reserves

An exclusive opinion poll conducted on Monday night demonstrates that Tasmanians overwhelming reject Premier Will Hodgman’s plan to log 400,000 hectares of protected forests as a response to economic viability issues for Forestry Tasmania, The Wilderness Society said today.
The Reachtel poll of 1,276 Tasmanian residents asked the following question:
'The Tasmanian Government has reportedly received advice that 25% of the timber logged from publicly owned state forest is harvested at a financial loss to Forestry Tasmania and Tasmanian taxpayers. Which of the following responses from the Tasmanian Government would you agree with most?'
The results were:
  • 38.8% of respondents believed that the volume of logging should be reduced by one quarter
  • 36.4% believed that the government should ‘maintain current supply and ensure log sale prices cover the cost of production’
  • only 24.8% believed that the government should undertake more undertake more logging ‘by allowing logging in forests that were set aside for conservation under the Tasmanian Forest Agreement’
'The results of today’s poll show that Tasmanians have a much firmer grasp on economics than the Premier and Forestry Minister,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for The Wilderness Society.
'Forestry Minister Guy Barnett has been making nonsensical arguments that the answer to losses from wood production is to do more logging, in reserves. When production costs exceed sale prices more logging in forests reserved for their high conservation values is not a solution.'
While the poll results demonstrate a public view on the politics of logging in the reserved areas, there is a widespread consensus that logging reserves would also affect industry attempts to get FSC certification, hurt confidence in and access to markets, and stoke a conflict most Tasmanians want to move on from.
'Forestry Tasmania’s advice tabled in parliament yesterday noted that it receives stumpage that is approximately 50% below that in comparable jurisdictions and that a ‘transition to cost-reflective prices… is an imperative'.
'Seventy-five per cent of Tasmanians want to see either a reduction in logging or prices increased to cover the costs of production. But instead, we have a government that prefers attacking political opponents to obscure the fact that it has no idea how to address the challenges facing the forestry industry.
'Sixty per cent of Tasmanians, 79 per cent of uncommitted voters and 67 per cent of somewhat committed (or swinging voters), and 84 per cent of micro party voters think the government is incapable of fixing the problems facing the forestry industry or would rather attack Labor and the Greens than genuinely address the industry’s problems.
'Will Hodgman’s Government has dropped 10 per cent of its vote in 18 months, and the best approach it can muster on its flagship forestry policy is an economically nonsensical proposal to log high conservation value forests that voters clearly reject. Will Hodgman has already lost one forestry minister. It’s clearly time for the government to take a more common sense approach to forestry issues.'

Further comment

Contact Vica Bayley on 0400 644 939 for more information. 
comms team