News that Gunns and Forestry Tasmania are working towards Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for the Tasmanian forestry industry, as well as statements by Premier Bartlett supporting the change, represent a victory for GetUp members campaigning against the proposed mill.
GetUp National Director, Simon Sheikh, said that this a great validation for GetUp members, who for years have been calling on Gunns and Forestry Tasmania to meet FSC requirements and other responsible environmental standards.
“This is long overdue” said GetUp National Director, Simon Sheikh, “but it signals that Premier Bartlett and Gunns are finally heeding the call of the community, thanks to the commitment of GetUp members to this issue and the work of our partners in the pulp mill campaign.”
However, Simon Sheikh cautioned that FSC certification does not solve all the problems with the Tasmanian forestry industry or the proposed mill. “This is a step in the right direction, but still leaves native Tasmanian forests open to logging, unless they are identified as ‘high conservation value.’ We need a commitment from Gunns and Forestry Tasmania to use plantation timber exclusively in all of their operations.”
“In addition, the proposed pulp mill still poses a number of problems for local industries and the local community, including the release of effluent into the Bass Strait and the fact that the process will not be totally chlorine free.”
Simon Sheikh noted how global markets are demanding sustainability from forestry products. “Sustainability and best practice environmental standards are not only good for the environment and the Tasmanian community—they are a necessity for the future of the Tasmanian forestry industry in today’s world.”
“In the coming state election, both the Labor and Liberal parties need to commit to achieving a responsible and sustainable forestry industry that reflects international best practices and Tasmanian values. That will require fair, inclusive and transparent democratic process that engages the Tasmanian community.”
About GetUp: GetUp.org.au is an independent movement to build a progressive Australia. GetUp brings together like-minded people who want to bring participation back into our democracy. GetUp has over 340,000 members nationwide, more than every political party combined. www.getup.org.au
Simon Sheikh, GetUp