The Tasmanian government’s announced changes to the Permanent Native Forest Estate Policy substantially overturn provisions put in place to safeguard biodiversity in the most heavily impacted forest types and to tackle the devastating impacts of deforestation on soils and water across rural areas of Tasmania, according to Markets For Change.
The claim that this is not broadscale clearance in the Tasmanian context is disputed, as is the implication that Minister Guy Barnett having discretion to approve such deforestation is not laissez faire.
“All three components of the Permanent Native Forest Estate Policy are being substantially undermined by the Tasmanian government. These are the protection of forests in reserves, ending land clearing, and ensuring a strong Forest Practices system,” said Markets For Change CEO, Peg Putt
“Provisions endorsed in the Regional Forest Agreement to cease clearance of endangered forest types that have reached the critical limit for survival are now to be hollowed out to allow incremental deforestation on farms across Tasmania,” Ms Putt continued.
“Weakening the RFA to allow deforestation that it previously ruled out with land clearance controls under the Permanent Native Forest Estate Policy is one of many problems with relying on this outdated agreement skewed to facilitate logging.”
“This situation is exacerbated by the failure of Tasmanian governments to adopt new biodiversity provisions in the Forest Practices Code that were recommended by scientists in a thorough review of its effectiveness. We know that controls needed to save endangered forest types have been evaded.”
“It’s curious to try and imagine how crops grown at the expense of deforestation could possibly be marketed as clean and green. It’s possible that instead the image of Tasmanian produce will be tarnished by this new outbreak of sanctioned environmental vandalism,” Ms Putt concluded.