What Peg reckons:
Peg Putt MHA
Tasmanian Greens Opposition Leader
Wednesday, 25 January 2006
THE GREENS HAVE JOB CREATION PLANS FOR FORESTRY, SENATOR ABETZ!
New Minister is Uninformed and Inflammatory
The Tasmanian Greens today responded to vitriolic anti-Green comments by incoming Federal Minister for Forestry, Fisheries and Conservation Senator Eric Abetz saying that he is ill-informed on the Greens’ plans for job creation in the forest industry.
Greens Opposition Leader and spokesperson on Forests Peg Putt MHA called for Senator Abetz to recognise that the Greens represent the views of a substantial proportion of the population who will be insulted by his incorrect and inflammatory remarks, and said that he should be prepared for dialogue and co-operation in his Ministerial role.
“Contrary to Senator Abetz’s spiteful claims, the Greens have thoroughly researched plans for job creation in the forest industry, which we can make truly ecologically sustainable, and there is a lot to talk about for anyone genuinely interested in shifting to a high value-adding, job creating industry and away from mass, low value woodchipping in the clearfelling culture,” Ms Putt said.
“We can create around 900 jobs through a combination of new timber processing ventures based in the existing plantations and tourism jobs gained through forest protection.”
“Many Tasmanians support the Greens which is how we come to be in Parliament, and Eric Abetz needs to recognise that we represent their views and that his vitriolic put down of them is insulting and a poor start for a new Minister who should be prepared for dialogue.”
“It is disappointing that the Senator has not bothered to inform himself of the actual policies of the Greens on forestry but has instead run on blind prejudice, sounding like an obsessed ideologue,” Ms Putt said.
What Duncan reckons:
What on earth was the PM thinking?
The news that Hon Sen Eric Abetz is to become the minister for Fisheries Forestry and Conservation will be greeted with shaking heads in Tasmania and on the mainland
The only thing that keeps the appointment in perspective is that previous holders of that office have included Wilson Tuckey and the forgettable sacked minister who was Senator Abetz’s immediate predecessor.
It seems this is a position the Prime Minister reserves for the odd balls and those going nowhere.
But the appointment is worrying about what it says about the low priority of these important areas of public policy in the eyes of the Howard government.
I wish I could congratulate Senator Abetz but the best I can do is to wish him well and to express the hope that, unlike those who preceded him in this job, he will surprise us all by turning his undoubted talents to the challenges Australia faces in resource management and conservation.
By contrast I wholeheartedly welcome Senator Richard Colbeck’s appointment as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration.
What Vica reckons:
MEDIA RELEASE 25 January 2006
NEW MINISTER’S OPENING COMMENTS ARE INFLAMMATORY
Senator Abetz is Minister for Conservation as well as Forestry and needs to represent wider interests than just those of the logging industry
The initial comments from new Federal Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Senator Eric Abetz, are a worrying sign, according to The Wilderness Society.
“In launching an anti-environmental crusade on behalf of the logging industry, Senator Abetz misses critical points of community concern. That is, world-class forests across Tasmania are still being consumed at an unsustainable rate,” said The Wilderness Society’s Vica Bayley.
“Forests of World-Heritage value in the Weld, Huon, Styx, Upper Florentine, Tarkine and Great Western Tiers are being destroyed. Key water catchments all over Tasmania are being badly degraded by land clearing. Logging threatens endangered species such as the wedge-tailed eagle.”
“We believe he should take a wider view of his role. He is Minister for Conservation as well as Forestry and he should be seeking to represent the aspirations of most Australians when it comes to forest management, not just the interests of the Tasmanian logging industry.”
He said he hoped Senator Abetz’s attitude would not be a blockage in dialogue between government and conservationists, and cause a step back to the dark ages of community polarization and wedge politics.
“Senator Abetz’s attack on Greens leader Bob Brown is a provocative first move as Minister. This will alienate many Australians, including a very significant proportion of Tasmanians. If this attack is continued, it will widen the divide between conservation and logging advocates,” continued Mr Bayley.
“As Minister for Conservation, Senator Abetz has an obligation to establish a constructive dialogue with the conservation movement. By coming out fighting in such a negative fashion, Senator Abetz does his portfolio a disservice and neglects the needs of a significant proportion of the public.”