Pic: John Hawkins

Pic: Bob Hawkins

The Tasmanian Greens today condemned the start of the annual forestry industry high intensity burn-off regime, saying the burns emit pollutants into the air causing distress to the many Tasmanians suffering from respiratory complaints, and also impacting on Tasmania’s clean, green and clever brand.

Greens Health spokesperson Paul ‘Basil’ O’Halloran MP said that these industrial high intensity burns, which are a stark contrast to the cool burns employed for fuel reduction purposes, are outdated, old-school and not in line with appropriate modern practice.

Greens Member for Lyons Tim Morris MP also tabled in the Parliament a petition signed by 60 constituents, calling for action to be taken to prohibit Forestry Tasmania, its agents, associates and contractors, and the forest industry in Tasmania from continuing the high intensity burns, citing health and climate change concerns.

“Once again Tasmania’s beautiful autumn days are blighted by the dense smoke plumes blocking out the sun and choking our air, due to these industrial ‘hot’ so-called regeneration burns,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“This is an unacceptable situation. It compromises Tasmanians’ health, our environment, and is an insult to common-sense.”

“Members of the public are contacting our offices around the state angry, concerned and disbelieving that one industry can subject this upon the island, while other people are lodging their protest by signing petitions.”

“It is well-documented the negative impact these high intensity urn-offs are having on other industries such as local wineries. Our tourism industry also has reason for concern over this due to the polluting plumes of smoke that choke up the air and ‘steal the sun’. ”

“The due date of these dangerous, polluting ‘hot’ burns offs just for the economic benefit of one industry has long expired. The Minister needs to consult with the community to establish a timeframe by which this archaic practice will end once and for all.”

Mr O’Halloran again reiterated the Greens’ long-held policy position supporting the ‘cool burning regimes’ of fuel reduction burns undertaken for public safety reasons, as differentiated to the dangerous industrial high intensity burn-offs employed to meet the economic requirements of one industry.