The Wilderness Society today confirmed it had met with representatives of Gunns in an attempt to find common ground and a resolution to the long-running conflict over forestry in Tasmania. The Society believes an honest dialogue provides the best opportunity to find the resolution Tasmania needs. The Society has been made clear to Gunns that certain preconditions need to be met in order for any dialogue to continue.

Political representatives have failed to properly address the issue of logging in Tasmania’s forests, and the timber industry is currently facing a crisis, with sales dropping and job losses. Gunns and conservation groups have therefore started discussions needed to find a path forward that best serves the environment, community and all Tasmanian business interests.

“There is very little political engagement from the major parties, who are happy with the status quo of logging in Tasmania’s forests, including oldgrowth and rainforests,” said Paul Oosting, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society. “The vital first step in resolving any issue is to sit down and talk.

“We believe a resolution is possible. We believe that native forests can be protected, timber workers can be looked after and the industry can make the transition into an internationally competitive, plantation-based model that all Tasmanians can be proud of.”

As community trust of Gunns is at an all-time low, the Wilderness Society believes the company needs to display good faith and demonstrate they are genuine about pursuing a dialogue around finding common ground and an ultimate resolution.

“Gunns need to demonstrate that it is genuine about getting a solution to the forest problem once and for all. In order to allow discussions to proceed, Gunns needs to call a moratorium of logging in identified high-conservation-value forests. We cannot talk to them while they are still logging these forests.

“Gunns need to stop the current Tamar pulp mill proposal and consider alternatives. Gunns also needs to abandon legal proceedings against individuals and organisations who have spoken out against its destructive logging practices,” said Mr Oosting.

“Any discussion needs to tackle the core problem that politicians have ignored for so long—the logging of Tasmania’s ancient forests and the subsequent cost to the environment and community,” concluded Mr Oosting.

The Wilderness Society is now waiting to see that Gunns is willing to halt contentious logging and demonstrate that they genuinely want to resolve the conflict before engaging in further discussions with the company.
Paul Oosting, The Wilderness Society