• Christine Milne: Is Forestry Tasmania in China selling forests at a loss?

Following a report last week that the only market for Tasmanian woodchips is China, but that the Chinese market will only be accessible at rock-bottom prices, Forestry Tasmania needs to explain why it is seeking yet another failed, debt-ridden deal.

“Is it true that Forestry Tasmania is now in China offering woodchips from Tasmania’s native forests at US $170 per tonne delivered?” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, asked.

“It is understood that the break-even price for woodchips is AU$150 at the wharf, so Forestry Tasmania must come clean on whether the price being discussed is US $170 delivered, in which case it cannot possibly make a profit.

“Is Forestry Tasmania in China trying to set up a deal for Minister Bryan Green to sign when he gets to China on his trade mission?

“Both Forestry Tasmania and Minister Green owe Tasmanians an explanation as to why they think it is acceptable to sell off our magnificent forests at a loss.

“Premier Giddings, Minister Green and Forestry Tasmania are tearing up the Inter-Governmental Agreement which has at its heart no new contracts and forest protection.”

• Bob Brown: Government misleads World Heritage Committee on Tasmanian logging

The Australian Government has lodged a report with the World Heritage Committee that misrepresents the extent of logging in forest surrounding the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said today.

“The Australian Government is putting forward a submission to an international committee that essentially does not tell the truth about what is happening in Tasmania’s forests,” Senator Brown said.

In the report to the committee the government claims in relation to the Tasmanian forests intergovernmental agreement: Under the terms of the Agreement, significant iconic areas adjacent to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area will be given interim protection from logging activities, including the Upper Florentine, and areas within the Styx, Huon, Picton and Counsel River Valleys, while an independent verification process to assess the values of these areas and available timber reserves is undertaken.

“There are some 18 coupes totalling over 800ha that are being logged, have been logged or are due for logging in the areas the government claims have been protected,” Senator Brown said.

“Some of these coupes are within just 1km of the World Heritage Area, which contrasts with the picture the government paints of a secure shield buffering the area from the impacts of logging.

“I have written today to the World Heritage Committee outlining exactly what is happening in Tasmania’s forests, including the list of coupes.

“I expect the Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke, to formally explain to the committee his error in the report,” Senator Brown said.