Revelations of secret talks between the Gillard Labor Government and the Greens over the shutting down of native forest logging undermine long term bipartisan support of Australia’s forest industry and forest workers.
The talks reportedly surround the extension of a proposed shut down of native forest logging in Tasmania to all other parts of Australia.
Greens Leader Bob Brown said at the Greens’ national conference in Launceston yesterday:
“I’ve been talking to the federal government about this for several months now.”
Coalition spokesperson for Forestry Senator Richard Colbeck today demanded that senior government ministers including Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Environment Minister Tony Burke and Forestry Minister Joe Ludwig reveal details of these secret talks.
“Prime Minister Gillard has a duty to be open with Australia’s forestry workers about her government’s secret talks with the Greens over the industry’s future,” Senator Colbeck said.
In September after forming government, the PM said “let’s draw back the curtains and let the sun shine in; let our parliament be more open than it ever was before.”
“But this Gillard Government sunshine obviously doesn’t extend to tens of thousands of forestry workers who are left in the dark.
“The industry and its tens of thousands of workers have enjoyed bipartisan support for some years now.
“There is no justification for the cessation of native forest logging across Australia.
“The science is very clear on maintaining a sustainable harvest regime in native forests. In fact:
• If you want to store more carbon, you should have long-term rotation management regimes in native forests
• If you want to protect and maintain biodiversity, you should have long-term rotation management regimes in native forests
• If you want to mitigate against catastrophic bushfires you should have long-term rotation management regimes in native forests
“It is unacceptable Labor now decides it wants to leave the forestry workers in the lurch, jump in bed with the Greens and have secret talks placing the industry in jeopardy.”
Office of Senator Richard Colbeck
Senator for Tasmania | Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry