Labor shifts position on forest policy

Friday 3 May 2019

Labor has shifted its position on forest policy, abandoning support for more native forest reserves, as it attempts to retain three under-siege Tasmanian marginal seats. The party amended its platform in December to “support the implementation of” the 2012 Tasmanian Forestry Agreement, which includes placing 356,000ha of forest in permanent reserves.

However, sections of the timber industry no longer support the detail of the TFA, also known as the “forest peace deal”, and have been lobbying Labor to guarantee “no more forest lock-ups”. Joel Fitzgibbon, Labor agriculture, fisheries and forestry spokesman, told The Australian that while still committed to the TFA objectives of consensus where possible between industry, unions and green groups, Labor did not support further reserves.

“Labor also believes that Tasmania has struck an appropriate balance between timber production and conservation of its forests through the years of negotiations leading up to the TFA,” Mr Fitzgibbon said. “As such, we do not support a Tarkine national park nor the transfer of any other timber production forests into reserves.”

Ross Hampton, chief executive of the Australian Forest Products Association, welcomed Mr Fitzgibbon’s pledge not to support further “forest lock-ups”. “If Labor was to be elected, we will absolutely be reminding them constantly of this commitment that’s now been given in relation to no more locking away of productive areas,” Mr Hampton said.

Labor is desperate to hold three marginal seats in Tasmania — Bass, Braddon and Lyons — where in the past further forest protection has not played well, overall, with voters. A uComms poll released this week, commissioned by the AFPA, shows 84.6 per cent of voters in Braddon support the timber industry as being important or very important. (provide link to media release sent out on Tuesday to relevant section on the AFPA website)

Source: The Australian, AFPA

Share |

Copyright 2004-2020 © Innovatek Ltd. All rights reserved.