A call for Tasmania to stop native forest logging is unlikely to win government support. Source: Hobart Mercury
The Australia Institute has taken out full-page ads in Tasmania’s newspapers signed by 67 high-profile Australians calling for the state to follow the lead of Victoria and Western Australia.
The ad is signed by state and federal MPs and arts, sporting and business identities including champion swimmer Ian Thorpe, authors Tim Winton and Richard Flanagan, actors Essie Davis, Claudia Karvan and Miriam Margoyles.
“It’s time for lutruwita/Tasmania to follow suit and protect our native forests,” they say.
“Successive Tasmanian Governments have provided over $1 billion in subsidies to the
Tasmanian Forestry industry over the past 20 years.
Australia Institute Tasmania director Eloise Carr said Tasmania was on the wrong side of a national trend.
“Australians want to see native forests protected and are calling on the Tasmanian government to put a stop to this unsustainable industry,” she said.
“This can be done by supporting forestry workers to move into sustainable jobs that help, not harm, the environment. Native forest logging cannot go on. Tasmania needs to be on the front foot and should make the inevitable decision now.”
Minister for Resources Felix Ellis told parliament on Wednesday that the government would be ramping up native forest logging in Tasmania — not shutting it down.
“The earlier-than-expected shutdown of native forestry in Victoria is also a huge opportunity for Tasmania,” he said.
“It means, sadly, for those workers in Victoria, they have been displaced, but there are massive opportunities here in Tasmania.
“In Tasmania, our millers have more jobs than people available to them, and we are looking forward to bringing those people down here to bolster our capability and supply.
“We are committed to ensuring Tasmanian timbers support Tasmanian jobs, and we will continue our work with the local industry to ensure supply and to ensure certainty.
“We can guarantee … that we will not be doing is shutting down the native forest industry like Labor have done in Victoria and Western Australia.”