Wednesday, 5th March 2014

FREE THE FORESTS

Tony Abbott has re-affirmed his commitment to delisting 74,000 hectares of World Heritage forest in Tasmania, explaining his position in these terms: "We have quite enough national parks. We have quite enough locked up forests already. In fact, in an important respect, we have too much locked up forest."

Set the forests free, in other words, so that they may be logged.

"It's still going to leave half of Tasmania protected forever," he added. He was fudging the figures a little – the figure is closer to 45% of the state, and "forever" is a long time – but the point of his statement was to send a signal that he and his party are on the side of the timber industry (and against environmentalists).

The degree to which Tasmania's forests are adequately protected has been, of course, the source of long-running and damaging disputes, which had only just ceased with the signing of the Tasmanian Forestry Agreement. 

The Coalition's aim to contest the World Heritage listing threatens to reignite Tasmania's forest wars. Given the logging of the area in question would have no measurable impact on the viability of the timber industry as a whole, Abbott's aggressive stance on the issue may be seen as symbolic, in the context of the upcoming state election. The Liberal party wants to wipe the Greens off the map, and Tasmania's forests are fair game.

Nick Feik
Politicoz Editor

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Abbott tells timber industry that too many forests are 'locked up'

"The Government has formally asked the World Heritage Committee to delist 74,000 hectares - a position Mr Abbott reaffirmed last night... "We have quite enough national parks. We have quite enough locked up forests already. In fact, in an important respect, we have too much locked up forest."" 

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