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UK Government confirms sustainability of Australian forestry.

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Media Releases : DAFF07/004A Last updated: 21 January 2007

UK Government confirms sustainability of Australian forestry

DAFF07/004A 21 January 2007

The British Government has endorsed the sustainability of Australian forestry by confirming that timber certified under the Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) is recognised as both legal and sustainable, and therefore meets the requirements of the British Government’s public procurement policies.

Federal Forestry and Conservation Minister, Senator Eric Abetz, said that the British decision on the sustainable status of AFS certified forests was confirmed in meetings last week in London with Mr Ben Bradshaw MP, British Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Environment, and Mr Barry Gardiner, MP, British Parliamentary Secretary (Commons) for Biodiversity, Landscape and Rural Affairs.

“The Wilderness Society and the Greens have in the past used the fact that the British Government was reviewing their procurement of AFS certified wood to campaign against Australian forestry practices, particularly Tasmanian forestry,” the Minister said.

“In the light of this British endorsement of the Australian Forestry Standard as both legal and sustainable, any credible organisation would now accept that Australian forest products are sourced from sustainable forests.

“Of course, the position of the Wilderness Society and the Greens’ position on Australia’s sustainable forest management practices is not credible, therefore they will not accept the legitimacy of the British Government’s position.”

The Minister added that during a meeting with the Belgian Minister for the Environment, Mr Bruno Tobback, Mr Tobback had stressed that despite claims to the contrary, the Australian Forestry Standard meets the sustainability and legality requirements of the Belgian Government’s public procurement policies, and that AFS certified timber is welcome in Belgium.

“It was encouraging to hear that despite the damaging activity of the Greens and their associates in campaigning against Australian forest practices overseas, ultimately the truth has come out,” Senator Abetz said.

“And the truth is, Australian forests are among the best managed in the world. The British and Belgian Governments acknowledge this.”

The British Government’s position on timber procurement can be found at (1 of 2)23/01/2007 4:04:16 PM