Ministerial Advisory Council releases forestry growth plan
(AU) – A report from the Ministerial Advisory Council on Forestry has quietly been put online, appearing to contradict aspects of the state government’s forest policy.
The council was tasked with reporting to Resources Minister Guy Barnett on possible strategies for the forest industry going forward.
Its Strategic Growth Plan recommends an “agreed and stable” approach to forest policy.
The Forestry (Unlocking Production Forests) Bill passed the lower house in March, and is now before the Legislative Council.
The bill’s objective is to open up 356,000 hectares of previously protected Tasmanian forest to logging, in the hope of satisfying Forestry Tasmania’s annual sawlog quota of 137,000 cubic metres.
Wilderness Society campaign manager Vica Bayley said the growth plan “fundamentally undermined” the government’s legislation.
“This growth plan nowhere points to reversing the protection offered to … forest reserves so they can be logged,” Mr Bayley said.
Mr Barnett said he “welcomed” the report.
“[It] contains a number of positive suggestions that will be closely considered as we finalise the future strategic growth direction of the industry,” he said.
Mr Barnett took a dig at the previous Labor-Green government, saying they outsourced forest policy to a roundtable of “big business, big union and big environment”.
Opposition resources spokesman David Llewellyn said the plan stood in contrast to the supposedly “divisive and un-consultative” approach taken by the government.
Ministerial Advisory Council releases forestry growth plan by Rob Inglis. Available from <http://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/4643135/forest-growth-plan-welcomed/> [7 May 2017, 9 a.m.]