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Forest agreement laws the opposite - Democrats.

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John Woodley

Australian Democrats

Rural Spokesman


8 March, 1999



Forest agreement laws the opposite — Democrats


The Democrats have condemned the Howard Government’s proposed new forestry laws as divisive and biased toward woodchip ping of old growth forests.


Democrats’ Rural Spokesman, Senator John Woodley, said the report of a Senate Inquiry into the Regional Forest Agreements Bill 1998, to be tabled today, showed how divided Australians are over the issue.


The Government, the Labor Party, the Democrats and the Greens have all written separate reports on the legislation.


“This legislation should be called the “Regional Forest Disagreement Bill,” Senator Woodley said.


The Democrats are opposed to the RFA legislation and fear that it would:


• lead to destruction of native forests, including old growth areas;

• lead to agreements that are mostly controlled by state governments with vested interests;

• fail to protect biodiversity; and

• privilege the interests of the old growth for est timber industry to the detriment of the plantation industry.


“The issue of forest protection has sparked demonstrations around Australia,” Senator Woodley said.


“But the RFA process fails to resolve one of the most contentious and long-running issues to face the nation.


“These proposed changes to forestry laws won’t heal the divisions. It will entrench them.


Senator Woodley said the value-added timber and plantation industries deserved equal treatment with woodchips from old growth forests.


“The Democrats believe that the only way long term job security can be assured is through value adding to forest products and by basing the industry on plantation timber."


CONTACT: Senator Woodley on 0419 025 150 or 02 6277 3728