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Milne: The rest of the world is watching as our HCV forests continue to fall

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is facing strong criticism as news of her broken promise to protect more than 430,000 hectares of native Tasmanian forest is broadcast on the global stage from Miranda Gibson's tree sit high up in the Tasmanian southern forests, Australian Greens Acting Leader, Christine Milne said today.

"As the deal to protect our high conservation value forests is unwound by the Prime Minister and Premier Giddings, the rest of the world is getting daily updates on the forest destruction from a coupe inside the area the PM said would be immediately given interim protection.

Speaking at a forest community rally in Hobart, Senator Milne praised the efforts of tree sitter, Miranda Gibson, who for the past six weeks has been networking the battle to save Tasmania's forests to the world via the internet.

"Miranda should be congratulated, because new eyes are opening to the destruction of Tasmania's native forests and wildlife every single day as word of her tree sit spreads around the world.

"Trashing the PM's word, undermining the Conservation Agreement and all this ongoing forest destruction is to meet contracts with Ta Ann, yet no one knows the details of those contracts. Far from being "commercial in confidence", they are in confidence because they are uncommercial from Tasmania's point of view.

"The questions to be answered before the Verification report is finalised are these:
1.How is it that after Forestry Tasmania lost two thirds of its contracts with the demise of Gunns, that it has to log inside the 430,000 hectares of HCV forests to meet one third of its contracts?
2.Has Forestry Tasmania over allocated the forests?
3.Has Forestry Tasmania massively over cut the forests over a long period of time and would not have been able to meet both Gunns and Ta Ann's contracts if both were still in business?
4.Does the TA Ann contract only require Ta Ann to pay for the volumes that leave the wharf and not for the logs that are delivered to its plant?
5.Where do the unpaid for rejected logs and waste go?
6.When the Commonwealth gave Ta Ann $10 million to set up in Tasmania , it was to process lesser quality logs hence not from HCV areas, how is it that Ta Ann is now demanding logs from HCV areas?
7.Who changed the specifications of the original contract?

"At some point in the very near future, PM Julia Gillard and Premier Lara Giddings will need to weigh up the value of an ongoing and prosperous source of income and pleasure for those who experience Tasmania, against the demands of a forestry industry that is dying on its feet.

"They will need to weigh up the value of their word.

"With international media attention focused on the state's forestry industry, it will not be long before the inside story of Ta Ann and its relationship with Forestry Tasmania muddies Tasmania's reputation and the reputation of the PM and Premier with it.

"Ta Ann has a demand for its product that is based on peddling a lie to overseas customers, but thanks to strong forest activism in the state, the company will no longer be able to claim their materials are sustainably sourced when in fact they come from the heart of the forests promised protection under the IGA.

"Act now and protect these wonderful forests, Prime Minister, the whole world is watching."


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