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Logging in national estate forests



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NEWS RELEASE

3?.

Senator Chris Puplick Shadow Minister for the Environment and Arts

IMMEDIATE RELEASE C31/89 Mon. 4 Sep 1989

LO G G ING TN NATTONAI, ESTATE FO RESTS

The so-called “Salamanca Agreement” exposes a great deal of confusion on the part of various conservation groups related to the question of logging in National Estate forests.

The Tasmanian agreement has been endorsed by the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Wilderness Society. It provides that logging will be permitted in some National Estate areas, primarily to make up an expected shortfall of supplies in the order of 29,500 tonnes to sustain the local industry.

As far as the south-east forests of New South Wales are concerned, these same conservation groups have objected to proposals to allow logging in 9% of the National Estate forests there. This figure was determined upon in order to make up an anticipated supply shortfall of 4525 cubic metres of sawlogs and 75,003 tonnes of pulpwood needed

to sustain the local industry.

The New South Wales figure was arrived at after exhaustive consideration of the “prudent and feasible” alternatives to logging in National Estate areas conducted under the terms of s.30 of the Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975. By contrast the agreement in Tasmania was arrived at in secret by the “Green/Labor” powerbrokers

without any public input or scrutiny and without the benefit of the same independent expertise as provided relative to the New South Wales situation.

The ACE and the Wilderness Society cannot have it both ways and practice this hypocrisy and selectivity. What they are saying in effect is that when we give permission to log in National Estate forests then that is acceptable; when the decision is made by somebody else (especially if they are the elected representatives of the people) then that is an outrage! Such double-standards are unacceptable and are rejected by the Federal Opposition.

Our own policy provides for the establishment of a series of Priority National Parks throughout Australia in which logging, mining and other activities incompatible with the urgent need to protect Australia’s genetic diversity of flora and fauna would be totally prohibited. This is a much more sensible approach to national park questions than the current confusion which exists about what constitutes national parks, world heritage

areas, national estate areas, wilderness areas or other reserves.

However, for the present it is important that we maintain a consistent approach to national estate questions, relying on the provisions of the Heritage Commission Act and not on secret deals based on variable principles.

ENDS COMMONWEALTH

P A R L IA M E N T A R Y LIBRA RY MICAH