Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 111

Did you see Q and A on ABC last night? I sent in a video question for Terry Edwards (of Forest Industries Association of Tasmania). It was great to see they included my question! (Although they did cut my video off part way through). Here is the segment of the show featuring my question and the response from the panel.

I have to wonder if Terry Edwards has been paying attention in all those meetings over the past two years. His reaction to my question gives the impression that he has never heard anyone mention the figure of 572,000 hectares until now. He claims that environmentalists have upped the stakes from 430,000 hectares to 572,000.  The figure has always been 572,000. It was the industry that pushed it down to 430,000. The Intergovernmental Agreement listed only 430,000 hectares to be put into a conservation agreement, though it still lists the full 572,000 as open for potential new reserves and it is that full area that was assessed by the expert team, lead by Professor West. The expert team looked at that full area because 572,000 hectares was what was on the table as proposed reserves from environment groups. And when they assessed the values, they found that it all contained substantial conservation values, including world heritage value. That is why it is crucial that logging is stopped immediately in that area. How can they continue to destroy the very forests they are sitting in a room talking about protecting. As they speak, the very values that have been verified as worthy of protection are being degraded on a daily basis, while logging occurs.

I found it very intriguing that Terry brings up the Trades Practices Act, saying that people shouldn’t misrepresent their products. This is a very odd comment considering that environmental groups have been the ones who have had to go out and tell the truth about the lies and misrepresentations being made by Ta Ann (a company represented by his organisation). Ta Ann tell their customers the wood comes from plantation. The reality is that it has been officially verified that they are driving the destruction of high conservation value forests.

As Andrew Wilkie pointed out, there are a range of reasons why the forest industry is in crisis. Including the fact, which has been verified by Professor West, that the industry has been over-cutting the forests. And in addition that Forestry Tasmania have made contracts that are not even possible to be fulfilled. Contracts are going to have to be renegotiated anyway, if the wood is simply not there. So why not make the changes needed to conserve these forests that have now been verified as globally significant?

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the industry and government respond to our offer of a suspension of the markets campaign, if a moratorium on logging is put in place. I guess we will have to wait and see if they respond over the next few days. Forestry Tasmania have come out very quickly, in what seems to be a knee-jerk reaction. Interestingly they are claiming that they cannot suspend logging because that area accounts for 50% of their contracts. And that it can take up to 9 months for them to re-work their Forest Practices Plans to move logging to other areas. These two facts raise serious questions about FT’s committment to the negotiations. If they claim they can’t get out of the high conservation value forests now, then will they ever be willing to? What about in when the negotiations are finalised –  Will they still claim they have to keep logging and logging and logging? Will they still want to continue to log at double the sustainable yield, as was found to be the case with their current practices? If they cannot even meet a moratorium (over due by a year now, so they have certainly had enough time to plan!) then how will they respond to the rest of the negotiated outcome? The question that needs to be asked then, is how serious is the industry about finding a solution?

Posted on April 3, 2012, in Daily Blog, Videos. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Garry Stannus

    J. Schirmer, 2011 in “Socioeconomic impacts of forest industry change: a baseline study of the Tasmanian forest industry”, identified the reasons for the downturn in the forest industry. This caused an immediate reaction in the Tas Govt, the Premier, Lara Giddings, made a Ministerial Statement (as Treasurer) trying to inform the Parliament that the industry has major problems and needs a serious restructure. The position had changed from 6000 to 3000 full time jobs since 2008 and a similar number in part time. One reason that Andrew didn’t get to mention, was the (relatively) high costs for local production.

    I was quite surprised to hear Terry Edwards say that the 572k Ha had come out of the blue. It is as Miranda notes: it was always part of the ENGOs proposal, and from it after negotiation, a lesser figure of 430k ha was identified as qualifying for absolute immediate protection regardless of existing contracts – compensation to be paid to ‘honour’ any such contracts – which never happened, despite our protests and despite Miranda pointing it out in an earlier blog. That is why the Observer Tree exists, because they continued logging in spite of the moratorium and then in spite of the IGA. It is really ironical that Terry Edwards was talking about having to tell the truth, when he of all people (he was involved in the round table talks which produced the Forest Principles Agreement, then the IGA, then the Fed Conservation Agreement but then left the process after Ta Ann was identified as falsely marketing its product as ‘eco’, amongst other things.

    It is hard to see any other way of understanding his incorrect claims about the 572 as representing nothing but a conscious mistruth. Perhaps his memory failed, but if so, it was a major failure.

  2. Great to see more publicity on the subject. Thanks for your continuing efforts!

  3. I saw Q&A and, although I was happy that they aired Miranda’s video, I felt the slant of the whole evening didn’t give a very clear answer to why Miranda climbed the tree in the first place and has stayed there. Andrew Wilkie was okay, but for Q&A to be in Hobart where the audience ratio was 19%Greens, there was no person on the panel to effectively argue for the forests.

  4. Poor bloody Edwards, no-one believes his lying spin.
    The loggers are in a corner. Time to turn off the light.

  5. i just dont understand the sheer ignorant idiocy of our, well, the world’s, politicians. All they think about, are consumed with, is money and jobs. But if there is no planet, if their lack of action to save Mother Earth continues, who cares about money and jobs? We won’t be here! She won’t be here. They are SO short=sighted and misguided. Every tree saved is a step in the right direction.

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