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UNESCO delegates in Tas to review heritage logging

The Tasmanian Government has assured specialty timber manufacturers it is “in their corner” despite a plan to back away from logging in the World Heritage Area (WHA). Source: ABC News

UNESCO delegates are assessing a proposal to log specialty species of timber in the WHA.

The delegation has already spoken to State Government representatives, and to WHA logging opponents.

If UNESCO does not support limited logging in the WHA, the Government said it would walk away from those provisions in the WHA draft management plan. But Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff said he supported the industry.

“We have much to be proud of in our specialty timbers in Tasmania, and we need to showcase that and we have some very fine furniture makers as well in Tasmania so we are in their corner,” he said.

“I’m sure that we can come up with very sensible solutions in terms of our native species and special species timber.”

The Minister would not be drawn on whether abandoning the logging plan would break an election promise.

“Well, I’m not going to talk about hypotheticals,” he said.

The UNESCO delegates were lobbied by environmental groups to uphold its recommendation to prevent logging in the zone.

They talked to representatives from Markets for Change, a group that investigates companies’ environmental performances, and the Bob Brown Foundation.

Markets for Change’s Peg Putt said she made a strong case.

“It is a very unique type of forest environment and has been specifically listed as one of the most valuable,” she said. “We think the argument is robust.”

The delegation met with the State Government to hear its case for selective logging in the area.