Forests and Gunns

July 12, 2008

HOBART — A July 6 meeting of the 21-country United Nations World Heritage Committee unanimously called for the extension of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA). The WHC's recommendations would protect some of the native forests currently threatened by logging, but federal environment minister Peter Garrett has ruled out extending the heritage area boundary.

Huon Valley Environment Centre spokesperson Will Mooney said in a media statement, "Tasmanian and federal governments must now heed the requests of the international community and IUCN experts, by moving to impose an immediate moratorium on logging in these areas and take steps towards extending the boundary of the TWWHA to protect their values".

The WHC recommendations follow a series of wins for Tasmania's anti-logging and anti-pulp mill campaigns, including the ANZ bank's withdrawal of funding for logging corporation Gunns' pulp mill and the resignation of pro-Gunns premier Paul Lennon after his popularity rating dropped to 17%.

On July 10, Gunns closed its Tonganah sawmill at Scottsdale, leaving 130 workers without a job. The mill closure happened with less than a fortnight's notice and followed the company's previous acceptance of $4 million from the state government to guarantee no retrenchments.

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