By Andrew Starc

19 October 2010 – Tasmania’s native forests may now be protected after the Australian Conservation Foundation and other environment groups reached an in principle agreement with the state’s timber communities, forest unions and industry groups to create a more sustainable timber industry.

The terms of the Tasmanian Forests Statement of Principles will see a shift  towards the production of more sustainable timber products to meet growing consumer demand. This will include the development of a range of plantation-based down-stream processing facilities.

The agreement will also see native forest entitlements handed back and a moratorium placed on the logging of high conservation value forests to be phased in over three months.

Environment Tasmania’s Phil Pullinger said that the agreement was based upon genuine goodwill between the signatories.

“The forestry industry, unions and environment groups have found common ground in the interests of all Tasmanians. This will pave the way for a sustainable timber industry that protects jobs and also protects the state’s remaining unique native forests,” said Environment Tasmania’s Phill Pullinger.

“The goodwill demonstrated through this agreement is genuine. People’s jobs depend on it, the state’s economy will be damaged without it and the protection of our native forest heritage is now possible through it.”

Signatories to the agreement are:

Australian Conservation Foundation Australian Forest Contractor’s Association (Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU)
Environment Tasmania Inc
Forest Industries Association of Tasmania
National Association of Forestry
Tasmanian Country Sawmiller’s Federation
Tasmanian Forest Contractor’s Association
Timber Communities Australia Ltd
Wilderness Society