The Greens have today launched a plan to protect lutruwita/Tasmania’s forests for future generations and for a safe climate, all while ensuring new job opportunities.
With states across Australia ending native logging, it’s clear the writing is on the wall for Tasmania’s native forest logging industry. The IPCC tells us our forests are the first line of defence against climate change and must be protected. Native forest logging is destroying biodiversity and undermining climate action, and consumers are waking up to the damage.
Under the Greens plan the Federal Government would pay the Tasmanian Government to end native forest logging. The payment reflects the carbon value of forests earmarked to be logged, and would help meet global emissions reduction commitments. The plan also avoids ongoing taxpayer subsidies to the native forests sector.
Payments would be made in instalments over ten years into a fund overseen by a joint Federal-State task force and invested in environmental restoration, forest management, and
forest tourism infrastructure. These and other activities would provide job transition opportunities for forestry workers.
Another key component of the Greens’ plan includes nominating takayna/Tarkine for World Heritage listing.
Lines attributable to Greens spokesperson for forests, Senator Janet Rice:
“Lutruwita’s incredible forests are our closest link to a land and time that is now lost to us. Its ancient forests are something to behold, but unsustainable logging is putting it all at risk.
“Through political bastardry, our national environment laws don’t apply to the country’s most incredible natural forests. Loopholes have allowed companies to come in, desecrate takayna/Tarkine and other precious forests, and tear down trees that have stood for hundreds – and in some cases thousands – of years, while the rest of Australia watches on in dismay.
“Lutruwita/Tasmania’s forests are worth far more for their wildlife, their water, for tourism and recreation, for their beauty and their carbon than they are logged.
“We don’t have time to waste. Every moment we delay in protecting our natural and cultural heritage, we’re losing something we’ll never get back.”
Lines attributable to Greens Senator for Tasmania, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson:
“Our forests are worth more standing, and this proposed historic payment agreement between the Commonwealth and State Government reflects this.
“Carbon stored in the vegetation, debris and soil of lutruwita/Tasmania’s native forests is estimated to be as much as 4,300 Mt CO2e, the equivalent of over a decade’s worth of all of Australia’s emissions from fossil fuels.
“Just this week news broke that the closure of a Tasmanian wood chip mill in 2011 led to a significant drop in native forest logging and downturn in carbon emissions that saw lutruwita/Tasmania one of the first jurisdictions in the world to become not just net zero, but carbon negative.
“To tackle the climate crisis we’ll need to end native forest logging. It’s estimated that ending native forest logging in lutruwita/Tasmania would significantly reduce Australia's carbon emissions, and help meet Paris Targets for emissions reductions.
“The billion dollar payment over ten years is a reasonable estimate of the carbon abatement values of unprotected native forests currently available for logging - but they are worth significantly more than this in terms of biodiversity, ecosystems services, and cultural and community values.
“The Greens’ plan is simple: end native forest logging, decrease carbon emissions in the process and invest in enhancing and restoring forests in lutruwita/Tasmania.
“This has the potential to kickstart new projects that ensure that ecosystem restoration can become a core part of the Tasmanian economy and diversify regional employment opportunities.”