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Green’s ‘same old’ forest policy is irresponsible

The National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI) is concerned over recent media announcements by the Greens that reconfirms their approach to forest policy is outdated and lacks economic, social and environmental responsibility.

“This is the same tired old rhetoric we have heard from Senator Brown and the Greens for decades and shows just how out of touch they are with the thinking of the broader community and also their key stakeholders’, said NAFI CEO Allan Hansard.

The Greens approach to forest policy is the old politicised ‘lock up’ and divisive approach that is focused on stopping the harvesting of our sustainably managed native forests at any cost – with no consideration as to whether it is environmentally, socially or economically responsible to do so. We know from past experience that politicised approaches to forest policy result in bad outcomes for the environment, communities and the industry.

If the Greens got their wish to stop the harvesting of native forests in Australia, around 30,000 hardworking Australians in rural and regional Australia would be out of a job, and out of a future and many communities dependent on the timber industry would be decimated. In addition, Australia’s trade deficit in forest products – already $2 billion – could double together with potential imports of illegally logged timber. This outcome is not responsible and reflects a lack of understanding by the Greens as to the valuable contribution the timber industry makes to the environment, economy and local communities.

Sustainably managed forests provide a wide range of benefits and services to the community in addition to wood products, including recreation, water quality, habitat for plants and animals and significant carbon sequestration.

In recent weeks NAFI has been engaged in constructive dialogue with key environmental groups in Australia to explore a new collaborative approach to forest policy, initially focusing on Tasmania. This process will have as a core principle the need for outcomes to be environmentally, socially and economically responsible. Only by the outcomes reflecting these principles will we have a long term and sustainable solution to the issues facing the native forest industry in Australia.

It’s time the Greens modernised their old approach to forest policy and embraced the new thinking that recognises the positive environmental, social and economic benefits the forest industry can deliver for Australia.