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A World Environment Day plea for the Tarkine red myrtles: government flops on greenhouse again.

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Bob Brown, Senator for Tasmania

Thursday, 5 June 2003

A World Environment Day Plea for the Tarkine Red Myrtles Government Flops on Greenhouse Again

On World Environment Day, the Greens are calling on the Howard Government to save a 400 metre swathe of pristine rainforest being cut out of the heart of northwest Tasmania's Tarkine wilderness.

"Yesterday the Tasmanian Government gave the go ahead, under the Regional Forest Agreement signed by Prime Minister Howard in 1997, for loggers to cut 2000 tonnes of red myrtle annually from along the Pipeline Track in the Tarkine," Senator Brown said.

"The plan is to cut 200 metres east and west of the track in the Tarkine which has the largest temperate rainforest in Australia.

"The proposal is like the Chinese killing black bears for their gall bladders. The loggers like the deep red colour of this wood. Meanwhile, they have a woodchip pile of myrtle and other rainforest species as big as a football stadium, on the wharf at Burnie for export to Japan.

"The Pipeline Track forests are cathedral-like: ancient trees, full of wildlife, over a carpet of ferns and fungi.

"The Minister for the nation's Environment, Dr Kemp, must have been consulted by Premier Bacon: he cannot wash his hands of the issue: he can put a stop to the chainsaws felling these red myrtles", said Senator Brown.

"Meanwhile, the government's announcement of an ozone protection amendment bill, introduced today by Dr Kemp, is a decade late.

"This comes out of a global agreement in 1992 and government policy from 1995. The bill should have been in a decade ago. The minister's catch-up underscores how poorly he understands his own portfolio.

"Furthermore the aluminium industry, one the Australia's worst greenhouse emitters, is exempted from provisions in the bill.

"What should have been introduced today was the start of a 50 year plan to cut Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 50% or more: then the minister could claim some environmental substance", Senator Brown said.

Further information: Ben Oquist 02 62773170 or 0419704095

Ben Oquist Adviser to Greens Senator Bob Brown 02 62773170 ph 02 62773185 fx