MEDIA RELEASE – 10 January 2010

The Wilderness Society today welcomed the Greens Forest Transition strategy as a step in the right direction, offering high-conservation-value forest protection along with a plan for widespread reform to the forest industry.

“This policy is in stark contrast to the old-style logging policies of Liberal and Labor and offers real hope of resolving the conflict over forestry in Tasmania,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society.

“We welcome any policy which seeks to protect identified areas of high-conservation-value forests including oldgrowth and rainforests.”

“Tasmania needs a comprehensive approach that rapidly shifts industrial scale logging out of native forests, to create a win-win outcome for the logging industry, the economy, community and environment.”

“It is disappointing that both Labor and Liberal have released forestry policies which simply benefit the major logging companies and entrench the conflict, leading to further job losses and environmental destruction.

“The Wilderness Society supports small-scale, high-value, low-volume logging of native forests for specialty craft timbers, but the bulk of the native-forest logging industry needs to be rapidly shifted into the existing plantation estate.”

The Wilderness Society also welcomes the following points in the Greens’ policy:

· A reform of governance arrangements within the forestry industry, including a restructure of Forestry Tasmania

· Financial support and assistance for forest workers

· Opposition of proposals to burn native forests for power generation

· Promotion and development of alternative employment opportunities in Tasmania’s forests

“With the timber industry in crisis, we need a new approach to forestry in Tasmania. Of the three major parties, the Greens are the only ones going to this election with a policy which doesn’t continue the forest destruction and taxpayer handouts to an antiquated industry,” said Mr Bayley.

Vica Bayley, Wilderness Society