Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

3 August 2020

Guy Barnett, Minister for Resources

Forestry facts rather than furphies

Facts have never been high on the agenda for environmental extremists, but yesterday’s completely false claims that Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT) plan to harvest Giant Trees and shut the Styx road in mid-August, are a new low.

STT does not harvest Giant Trees and has no immediate plans to harvest any coupe adjacent to the Styx Rd, or close the road.

In reality, when Giant Trees occur in public production forests, STT proactively identify and reserve them, ensuring they are protected.

Should harvesting take place in this area at some point in the future, STT is committed to proactively working with neighbouring land managers to provide alternative access for the Big Tree Reserve, and will work to minimise any impact on local tourism operators.

STT advise that they routinely work with local tourism operators prior to harvesting operations to minimise impacts on regional businesses.

The completely baseless claims from the Bob Brown Foundation and the Wilderness Society are nothing more than scaremongering and a desperate bid to mislead the public and drive their revenue streams.

It is also irresponsible in the extreme, during a period of uncertainty for local businesses who need support during COVID-19, for these unnecessary scare tactics to be used.

The fact is that Tasmanian forests are sustainably managed with some of the most stringent environmental protections in the world.

Broad-scale clearance and conversion of native forest ceased on public land more than a decade ago.

STT harvesting operations occur on Permanent Timber Production Zone (PTPZ) land, which was set aside by both houses of parliament specifically to sustainably supply the sector.

Less than half of PTPZ land contains native forest available for wood production and less than one per cent is harvested in a given year – around 0.27 per cent.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government recognises that both the tourism and forestry industries are crucial for our economy, local communities and workers, and is confident that both sectors can continue to successfully coexist.

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