Forest council says no guarantee State Government’s logging plan won’t affect Forestry Tasmania’s FSC bid

In March 20, 2017

THE  Forest Stewardship Council says there is no guarantee the Liberals’ plan to open more forests for logging won’t jeopardise Forestry Tasmania’s bid for top environmental accreditation.

The State Government will soon table legislation to open an additional 356,000 ha of forests to harvesting.

Resources Minister Guy Barnett says opening the forests to harvesting from July 1 next year is critical to the forest industry and will save 700 jobs.

The areas that had been set aside under the former Tasmanian Forest Agreement won’t be logged by Forestry Tasmania but by private operators, to protect Forestry Tasmania’s quest for FSC certification.

FSC certification is seen as critically important because it will open up new markets.

Mr Barnett has frequently referenced comments from FSC Australia that the plan to open new areas to logging would have no direct impact on Forestry Tasmania’s bid.

However, FSC Australia chief executive Bill Royce said there could be indirect impacts that may affect the bid. He said the FSC process was done by independent auditors who would make their own determinations on whether government policy impacted Forestry Tasmania’s ability to claim top environmental management credentials.

“Should the Tasmanian Parliament pass legislation to access new areas the independent FSC Auditor would need to consider how Forestry Tasmania’s high conservation value assessment has relied on those areas.”

“If the parliament passes legislation to access these areas, and undertake operations that FSC deem unacceptable, a risk exists that any associated FSC certificates held by the Government could be indirectly impacted under FSCs Policy for Association.”

Mr Royce said the Forestry Tasmania bid would be safer if the State Government urged private operators logging in the expanded areas to achieve FSC standards.

However, the Government has not indicated FSC would be pursued in the areas, where logging is strongly resisted by the environment movement.

Forest council says no guarantee State Government’s logging plan won’t affect Forestry Tasmania’s FSC bid by Blair Richards.  Available from <> [March 8, 2017 11:08pm] Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE