Paul Oosting Wilderness Society MR, 26Feb: Wood supply deal for Gunns’ pulp mill irresponsible

Tasmania locked into 20 years of greenhouse gas pollution before Garnaut reports

THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY has labelled today’s announcement of a 20-year deal to supply Tasmania’s native forests to Gunns pulp mill as outrageous and irresponsible. The wood supply will intensify logging, increase pressure on endangered species and water catchments, and is particularly irresponsible considering that the Garnaut study recently commissioned to investigate the logging industry’s impact on climate change has yet to report back.

“Premier Paul Lennon is himself unsure of the climate impact logging in Tasmania is having, but with Forestry Tasmania signing this agreement Tasmania is now locked in to the logging of native forests for the next 20 years,” said Mr Paul Oosting Pulp Mill Campaigner for The Wilderness Society.

“It is a tragedy for Tasmania’s environment and economy that the Premier has sought to pre-empt the findings of the Garnaut Review by rushing ahead with the signing of this deal, before he gets a report back from the inquiry he commissioned.”

“This wood supply agreement completely ignores the issue of climate change. It ignores the scientists and it ignores the economists who are saying that native forests are best protected as carbon sinks to combat climate change.”

“The Lennon government is offloading Tasmanian’s native forests for Gunns’ for as little as $15 per tonne. Conservative estimates of the cost of carbon that are being looked at for carbon trading schemes have been a minimum of $20 per tonne. Logically, instead of locking in a deal of destruction, it would be more lucrative for Tasmania to protect our forest as carbon sinks, and reap the benefits for biodiversity, water catchments and community cohesion,” said Mr Oosting.

“Premier Lennon has shown his true colours on climate change. He has rushed through a 20-year deal for Gunns and ignored the science and the economic realities.”

The Wilderness Society called Federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and Gunns’ banker the ANZ bank, to explain who would now bear the cost of greenhouse gas pollution that would result from logging to feed the pulp mill. No climate change assessment has been done in any of the formal, fast track assessments of the pulp mill.