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Small log veto would break ALP election promises, betray communities, spark backlash.



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TIMBER QUEENSLAND MEDIA RELEASE

Timber Queensland Ltd

500 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006 PO Box 2014, Fortitude Valley BC, QLD 4006 Ph: (07) 3254 1989 Fax: (07) 3254 1964 Email: admin@timberqueensland.com.au Website: www.timberqueensland.com.au

Small log veto would break ALP election promises, betray communities, spark backlash

Timber Queensland today warned that the Beattie Government risked becoming a forest policy laughing stock nationally, breaking their election promises1, and sparking a massive community backlash if it used irrational log size limits to constrain long term forest policy in

the Western Hardwoods Region (WHR).

TQ Chief Executive, Rod McInnes, said there was growing concern that the Beattie government may be about to rule out the use of 30-40cm diameter logs - internationally one of the most commonly used saw log categories. As the most common commercial tree class in the WHR a veto on these logs would make ALP policy of a plantation transition unachievable.

Mr McInnes said that such a move would be seen as a ‘complete betrayal’ given that Premier Beattie only last week personally intervened to extend wood supply for another 6 months pending the outcome of decisions on the long term future of the region.

“A small logs veto would shut the industry down by stealth,” he said. “Future consultations with these communities would be about the manner and timing of execution for their local economies.”

“There would be no net gain for the environment because the real ‘baby trees’ (<30cm) are protected anyway under the industry’s plantation transition plan. Instead, Queensland’s hardwood plantation opportunity would be lost and the big winners would be the importers of rainforest hardwoods from abroad.

“A small logs veto would make Queensland a laughing stock for three main reasons:

“First, it would run completely against the national and international trend towards greater use of small logs as part of a sustainable forestry policy. Interstate Regional Forests Agreements (RFAs) routinely include small logs because it helps to minimise impacts on conservation values.”

“Second, no scientific case whatsoever has been made for a small logs veto. The onus should be on the government to justify such a radical decision and no such justification exists. Small trees have far less habitat value and produce less food for native fauna than the larger trees. This is precisely why the industry is focusing on the mid-range (30-50cm) trees in its plantations transition plan.”

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TIMBER QUEENSLAND MEDIA RELEASE

Timber Queensland Ltd

500 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006 PO Box 2014, Fortitude Valley BC, QLD 4006 Ph: (07) 3254 1989 Fax: (07) 3254 1964 Email: admin@timberqueensland.com.au Website: www.timberqueensland.com.au

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“Third, and most embarrassing, government would have been totally conned by a green movement on record supporting greater use of smaller trees to remove pressure from larger trees.2 The entire movement took that position for the WHR as recently as their January 2004 Election Policy Statement3 as did their representatives repeatedly in Statewide Forests Process negotiations until very recently. Meanwhile, the NSW green movement supports small logs as part of the solution in the same Brigalow Belt of which WHR is part!4”

Mr McInnes urged the government to step back from the brink of a ‘forest policy blunder of Tasmanian proportions’ and use the next six months to get the science right, engage community stakeholders in proper consultation, and tackle all of the issues as one process.

1 See: “Protecting Queensland’s Natural Heritage: National Parks,” Team Beattie 2004 Election Policy; and see also broad and specific aims of Statewide Forests Process in ALP National Parks Strategy in “What is the Statewide Forests Process,” Queensland Govt Department of State Development, 2003. [now removed from the DSD website] 2 eg. The Forests Policy of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW says “The sawmill industry should be restructured to enable the use of smaller logs thereby preserving older trees…” p.6; See also: http://www.nefa.org.au/pip2.html as at 30 June 2004 where the environment movement says : “There is an urgent need to ensure a shift to value adding and milling of smaller logs” 3

See: “Striving for Sustainability - Key Environmental Policies for Queensland” January 2004, pp. 5-6 (co-signed by Queensland Conservation Council; The Wilderness Society; ARCS; ACF; Australian Marine Conservation Society; Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland; Cairns and Far North Environment Centre; North Queensland Conservation Council; Mackay Conservation Group; Capricorn Conservation Council; Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council; Sunshine Coast Environment Council; Toowoomba and Region and Environment Council; Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council (GECKO); Humane Society International 4 See Wilderness Society website as at 30 June 2004: http://www.wilderness.org.au/campaigns/forests/nsw/woodlands/sub_4_bbs/

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For further information please contact Rod McInnes on 07 3254 1989 or 0419 704 028.

1 December 2004