Several prominent forest advocacy groups, including the Huon Valley Environment Centre and Still Wild Still Threatened, released this joint statement on March 5.
Australia’s forest advocacy groups have responded to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s attack on forests and praise for the industry that destroys them. Many of Australia’s forest conservation groups have been working to have the remaining forests and the wildlife within them protected over the decades.
WA Forest Alliance spokesperson Jess Beckerling said: “Fancy thinking that loggers, who are clearfelling ancient ecosystems at taxpayers’ expense, are the ‘ultimate conservationists’. It goes to show that the prime minister has no idea what protection of Australia’s most precious places even means.
“Abbott is running a shameless attack against the places we love: our forests, marine parks, the Great Barrier Reef. It’s no wonder we’re seeing a resurgence of peaceful direct action around the country.”
Peg Putt, CEO of Markets For Change, said: “The prime minister’s determination to log precious native forests when it is documented to be ecologically unsustainable jeopardises the markets of the forest industry which these days demand high environmental credentials in the wood products they sell.”
“He would assist the industry into a viable future more effectively and create more secure jobs if he supported utilising existing plantations for value added product and took the pressure off nature.
“Converting the ailing woodchipping export trade into industrial scale incineration of forests to produce electricity is a plan that will harm the climate and horrify consumers.”
Jill Redwood from Environment East Gippsland said: “Just as the latest CSIRO report shows Australia’s extreme weather is set to get worse and become the norm, our PM is advocating the further clearfelling and logging of natural forests in order to keep a failing native forest industry struggling against the tide.
“If there was an international court to try the world’s worst environmental criminals Tony Abbott would be in the dock! He is an appalling/embarrassing example as the leader of a developed nation, at a time when the world’s natural environments are all under extreme stress.
“Forests are critical in the fight to moderate our climate. There are plantations enough ready to process right now into sawn timber as well as woodchips for paper, without the need to cut down one more stick of native forest.”
Tim Gentles from Goongerah Environment Centre said: “The Abbott government has shown themselves to be dangerously irrational when it comes to the economic and environmental reality of native forest logging.
“Tony Abbott appears happy to undo the protection of our loved and iconic forests whilst allowing millions of taxpayer dollars to disappear for the benefit of offshore companies like Ta Ann and Nippon Paper.”
Harriett Swift, spokesperson for South East Region Conservation Alliance, said: “At a time when the national government should be looking at protecting native forests as an affordable way of combating climate change, Mr Abbott is declaring war on them. Mr Abbott has made it blindingly clear why his government is not prepared to subject the logging industry to the same hard line ‘no subsidy’ ideology that other industries are facing. Abbott pledged to treat this industry that has privileged subsidies at the expense of taxpayers.”
[This statement was released by Markets For Change; the Goongerah Environment Centre, Victoria; Environment East Gippsland, Victoria; the Huon Valley Environment Centre, Tasmania; the South East Region Conservation Alliance, NSW; Still Wild Still Threatened, Tasmania; and My Environment, Victoria.]