Tasmanian forestry industry leaders believe state Liberals' plan to dismantle forest peace deal, remove timberland from World Heritage listing would damage state's international forest products trade
December 27, 2013
– Leaders in the Tasmanian forestry industry are concerned that removing the state’s forests from the World Heritage listing would deter international markets from buying Tasmanian timber, ABC News reported on Dec. 24.
Some 170,000 hectares of timberland in the state were given World Heritage status under the forest peace deal. But, as reported by The Australian on Dec. 6, the Australian government is proposing to rescind the 100,000-hectare expansion of Tasmania's World Heritage-listed forest reserve—a move both green groups and industry officials claim would jeopardize the hard-won forest peace agreement.
Tasmanian Liberal opposition Leader Will Hodgman has gone a step further, vowing to end the forest peace deal and rebuild the industry if his party wins power in the upcoming March 2014 election, claiming the deal was made without appropriate support from his party, ABC News reported.
Forest Industries Assn. representatives are now suggesting the Liberals do not have a firm grasp on the workings of the international timber market.
Forest Industries Assn. Chief Executive Terry Edwards and Tasmania’s Premier Lara Giddings are among critics of the plan. Giddings has argued that ending the forest peace deal would cause the state’s forestry sector to lose jobs, and said if that happened, the blame would be on Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Edwards believes the World Heritage status helped Tasmanian timber in the world market, as it was an important statement of the reliability and sustainability of the state’s wood product industry.
The primary source of this article is ABC News, Hobart, Australia, Dec. 24, 2013.