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Removal of burning native forest for energy from renewable energy list is a win

The announcement from the Labor government that it is revoking the ability for native forests to be burnt for energy and claimed as renewable energy is a win for forests, climate action and Australia’s transition out of native forest logging.

This important action from Minister Bowen is another indication that the woodchip driven native forest logging industry is increasingly unviable.. Across Australia, and here in Tasmania, native forest logging is coming under increasing economic, social and environmental pressure with community groups such as Blue Derby Wild challenging the lawfulness of the self regulating logging system of government business enterprise Sustainable Timber Tasmania. While in Victoria, a landmark supreme court judgment last month found the state logging company, VicForests, had failed to protect threatened glider species and that its methods to check for gliders before logging was inadequate.

Blue Derby Wild along with many other community and national groups made submissions detailing our strong support for the Albanese government to remove this highly polluting form of electricity generation from Australia’s renewable energy sector. We are thrilled the government has taken this corrective action.

We look forward to seeing how the government will correct the problems inherent in the state based Regional Forest Agreements that have allowed the systemic failures that have created the situation we are currently challenging in the Supreme Court of Tasmania. Exemptions that allow the logging industry to regulate itself, and have no federal requirement to protect rare, threatened and endangered species and ecosystems. We hope the new national environmental standards Labor have promised to introduce will abolish Regional Forestry Agreements, and make logging adhere to federal environmental protection and biodiversity protection laws. Ending decades of untransparent and unaccountable practices where state-based RFA’s have created exemptions for state operated logging operations from national environment laws.

The native forests of Tasmania and Australia are some of our best terrestrial carbon and biodiversity assets, and we need to do all we can to protect them as part of climate action and turning around the escalating biodiversity loss in Australia.

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