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Crackdown on illegal logging good for climate change.

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Martin Ferguson MP

Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Resources, Forestry and Tourism

November 2 2006

Crackdown on illegal logging good for climate change

Every year in Australia, plantations and commercial forests remove the equivalent of 8% of Australia’s greenhouse emissions from the atmosphere.

Yet 13 million hectares of the world’s forests are being lost each year.

Almost half of those are primary forests - the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet - that could remove the equivalent of 70% of Australia’s greenhouse emissions every year.

And many of them are being illegally and unsustainably logged.

Illegal logging on our doorstep in Asia and the Pacific is not only bad for climate change, it is sending developing countries backwards and undermining Australia’s legitimate forest industries.

The measures announced by Senator Abetz today are a step in the right direction, but they have been two years coming.

Urgent action is now critical.

None more so than a formal review into forestry certification and product chain-of-custody schemes to ensure that they will deliver sustainability.

Senator Abetz flagged this two weeks ago and Labor has backed him - there is no reason not to move now.

Continuous Greens campaigns questioning the sustainability of the Australian forest industries are costing the jobs of Australian workers, sending value adding opportunities overseas, and threatening to worsen our $2 billion trade deficit in the sector.

At the same time, they are fuelling global demand for illegal timber imports including here in Australia where up to 10% of timber imports are of questionable origin.

It is high time government, industry and the union movement took these issues head on.

The Howard government must also come clean on managed investment schemes (MIS) because Australia’s plantation industry is a vital part of the answer to both unsustainable forest practices and climate change.

Investor uncertainty is seriously threatening the industry’s future with the Tasmanian pulp mill and Indigenous community development projects also at risk.


Contact: Tracey Winters 0407 099 104

Lou Cullen Media Adviser/Administration Office of The Hon Kim C Beazley MP Leader of the Opposition

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