MEDIA RELEASE: Friday, 1 June 2012
The Tasmanian government and Forestry Tasmania need to back off from the provocative acts they have taken in the last week which have been undermining the Tasmanian forest peace process, Markets for Change, the Huon Valley Environment Centre, The Last Stand, and Still Wild Still Threatened said today in response to a statement from the negotiators calling for more time and space to reach agreement.
“We suspended new overseas market initiatives and protests a fortnight ago as a gesture of encouragement after the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania finally agreed to sit down and talk, but Minister Bryan Green in particular has indulged in a series of provocations,” said Peg Putt of Markets for Change.
“He has announced a trial shipment of blackwood to China in order to eventually establish a new processing venture based on this rainforest species, thus assuming and setting up for entrenched logging in sensitive forests at increased volumes. This cannot be reconciled with the intention of the talks to reserve substantial new areas and decrease volumes of native forest logging with a transition to plantations.”
“The Minister followed with an even more inflammatory action giving the go-ahead for Tarkine mining, a move designed to rebuff effective reserve creation.”
“There is increasing urgency that these talks get to the point of reserving forests and reworking wood supply and we are not going to sit on the sidelines for months whilst the forests in question continue to fall,” Ms Putt said.
“We appreciate that the issues are complex, but we are also increasingly concerned that the pressing nature of the conservation claim is not being acknowledged by restraint on logging destruction of the areas,” said Miranda Gibson of Still Wild Still Threatened from the Observer Tree in a threatened forest coupe.
“It was devastating to hear on Monday that, although the signatories agreed to no new contracts, Forestry Tasmania have in fact signed up 22 logging contracts in the past year, eleven of which are completely new ones, and all obviously designed to nullify forest protection,” Ms Gibson said.
“We will maintain a close watching brief for the moment, but are exceedingly concerned that the longer the negotiations are drawn out the more magnificent forests we lose to the chainsaw,” said Jenny Weber of the Huon Valley Environment Centre.
“We are waiting with high anxiety for some demonstration of the good faith that is claimed to exist,” Ula Majewski of The Last Stand concluded.