Greens lay out plan to protect native forests for generations to come
The Greens have outlined a plan for a rapid planned transition out of native forest logging, including the immediate end to logging of all high conservation value forests.
The Greens’ plan was launched by forests spokesperson Senator Janet Rice, joined by former Greens leader Bob Brown and Greens candidate for Wills, Samantha Ratnam. Bob Brown is visiting Melbourne to highlight forest issues, appearing at public meetings to put Victorian forest protection and the Great Forest National Park on the election agenda.
“Australia’s magnificent forests are a special part of our natural heritage,” said Senator Janet Rice, the Australian Greens forests spokesperson.
“Whether it’s for their outstanding ecological values, their Indigenous heritage, their roles as places of enjoyment, recreation and tourism or their vital contribution to the provision of clean water and a safe climate, we have a responsibility to protect them for future generations.
“Right now, our forests and everything they provide for us are being put at risk by an outdated mindset that subsidises the native forest logging industry instead of protecting the wide range of forest values.
“The Greens have a plan to transition the timber industry to sustainable plantations and farm forestry, and create jobs in long term sustainable industries.
“Our forests are massive drawcards for tourism and recreation and extraordinarily valuable assets to regional economies.”
The Greens will:
· Immediately stop logging of all high conservation value forests
· Implement a rapid planned transition out of native forest logging
· Scrap Regional Forest Agreements
· Commit $25 million for the development of a comprehensive way forward for our forests and regional communities living in forest areas
· Protect wildlife and forest ecosystems through strong a new generation of strong national environmental laws, an independent environmental watchdog, re-establishing
· Biodiversity Fund and a $130m Threatened Species Plan
Senator Rice highlighted that it’s crucial to scrap the 20 year Regional Forest Agreements, which the Coalition want to simply roll over as they begin expiring in 2017. The Labor party has indicated ongoing support for these RFAs.
“Regional Forest Agreements were meant to weigh up the needs of forest-based industries and conservation but instead have kept forest management stuck in the 19th and 20th Centuries,” said Senator Rice.
“The agreements mean that the impacts of logging the habitats of animals like Victoria’s animal emblem the Leadbeater's Possums, the Baudin's Cockatoo in WA and Swift Parrots in Tasmania, which are on all the brink of extinction, don't have to be assessed under environmental laws.
“Instead of the destruction of native forest logging, let’s get going with initiatives like the Great Forest National Park on Melbourne’s doorstep. This new national park will save Victoria’s animal emblem the Leadbeater’s Possum and boost the local economy with an influx of visitors.
“The transition of communities will be aided by a $25 million commitment to develop a comprehensive way forward for our forests and regional communities.
“The Greens are the only party that understands that economic prosperity and a healthy society goes hand in hand with the protection of our precious natural heritage.”
Full initiative: www.greens.org.au/forests
MEDIA CONTACT: Sam Drummond, 0400 352 935