Battle over woodchips looms

Issue 

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE — The battle over Australia's forests is set to erupt again with a Queensland company applying to the federal government for an annual licence to chip 140,000 tonnes of timber.

Wilderness Society spokesperson Virginia Young said on May 15 that conservationists would fight any lifting of quotas or easing of licence conditions.

"Both federal and state governments would be breaking pre-election commitments", she said. "This is of deep concern to the community."

Young said a 1994 AB McNair poll showed 84% of Queenslanders were opposed to woodchipping, and opposition in most other states was about 80%.

She said that in all instances, such as the current Queensland case, where licences were originally issued for sawmill residue only, the companies had later extended the licences to take logs direct from the forest.