“There has never been a more important time for us to stand up and demonstrate support for Australia’s forestry industries,” said Senator Richard Colbeck when he launched an online petition – http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/supporting_australian_forest_industries/ – to highlight the valuable contribution made by Australia’s forestry industries.
“A catalyst for this petition has been the ongoing saga in Tasmania, where campaigns of misinformation and industrial vandalism continue to unfairly slander a viable and respectable industry.
“I am increasingly concerned that the good stories about forestry are drowned out by enviro-warrior campaigns based on half-truths and fiction.
“The latest goal of these groups appears to be shutting down all native forest activity, which is both unnecessary and also contrary to achieving some of the ideals they profess to desire.
“I believe we need to keep highlighting the many positive contributions that are made by sensible management of these important resources.
“I am talking about the scientifically proven benefits brought on by active native forestry management – like greater carbon absorption and bushfire mitigation.
“I’m talking about the benefits of having totally renewable resources for construction, manufacturing and energy generation.
“And I am talking about the economic benefit that forest industries bring to hundreds of Australian communities through employment, direct wealth generation and indirect flow on benefits.
“There is a lot of frustration among forest communities that they are not being heard and that green groups are dominating the corridors of power.
“I will table this petition in the New Year to ensure our views are brought to the attention of the Labor-Green Federal Government,” Senator Colbeck said.
The Senator also fired a broadside at a recent so-called press release that created the impression that a national furniture retailer had made a decision to cease stocking furniture made from Australian native timber. “The media hoax targeting Harvey Norman confirms that anti-forestry campaigners have no credibility. Anti-forestry campaigners have gone too far with this dishonesty,” Senator Colbeck said.
“This hoax is an appalling new low for activists whose credibility was already tenuous at best.
“We have long said the community is being misled about forestry by groups such as Get Up and Markets for Change and today’s hoax confirms that.
“This hoax is part of an orchestrated and coordinated campaign involving numerous anti-forestry groups that are well-funded by anonymous sources.
“This hoax must be investigated and the perpetrators must have the book thrown at them.
“Harvey Norman is a reputable company that already has traceability programs in place to ensure it is buying furniture built from timber that is legally harvested and sustainably managed.
“It is outrageous that Tasmania’s native forest industry and reputable businesses like Harvey Norman must continuously defend against duplicitous and devious corporate sabotage.
“This hoax was elaborate. It was well-planned and it was designed to deliberately mislead the media, the markets and the general public.
“Environmental campaigns are afforded significant privileges in Australia under a number of pieces of legislation including the Australian Competition and Consumer Act but in light of this latest events and the dirty tricks that have led up to it, perhaps it is now time for those privileges to be reconsidered,” Senator Colbeck said.