Tasmania’s Deputy Premier has called for a ‘different approach’ and appealed to all Tasmanian’s to focus on how to resolve conflict over forestry in the state.
“Forestry has been the source of conflict and pain for many Tasmanians over the past three decades,” Deputy Premier Bryan Green said.
The Tasmanian Forests Agreement (TFA), an attempt to balance conservation and industry and help resolve the conflict, is due to be legislated in state parliament on June 30.
To assist the process, the Independent Verification Group recently published its report.
However, while finalisation processes of the report by the Independent Verification Group led by Professor West continue, and with key stake holders yet to set a timeframe by which they will reach agreement, that looming deadline will present challenges.
“(To) enable a legislative solution to be put before the Parliament a proposal must be put to the two Governments by the key stakeholders that demonstrates leadership and determination to achieve an outcome,” Mr Green said.
“Without a considered proposal that deals with the issues… we will at best be forced to put the TFA on hold. At worst we will move to the lose/lose scenario I have described (in a speech to Parliament).”
Mr Green also expressed concerns that representatives for environment and forestry will continue to struggle to reach agreement.
“The Government has no doubt that individuals and groups will be tempted to cherry-pick results in their attempts to undermine this work as we have seen to date.
“This will only fan the flames of forestry division in our community,” he said.
After the report’s release, forestry and environmental groups again spoke on the issue.
“The environmental movement might have ‘claims’ on some areas, but the forest industry has contracts,” forestry spokesperson Richard Colbeck said.
“Even with the exit of Gunns Ltd, locking up our forest resources will mean existing contracts cannot be met. It was clear from looking at the wood supply projections at the very start of the Statement of Principles process that locking up more forest resources would cause supply shortages.”
Greens leader Bob Brown said: “The Gillard and Giddings governments should move to extend the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area to include forests in the Tarkine, Styx, Weld, upper Florentine and Great Western Tiers.”