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Response to The Premier on opening FPPF reserves to logging

We've had many people contact us sharing a form letter they received from Premier Gutwein after writing to him regarding the removal of the Future Potential Production Forests (FPPF) from reserve status. We got the same form letter as individuals and Blue Derby Wild after writing to the Premier, and Minister Guy Barnett.

Premier Gutwein wants to quell dissent and query. The response we got is shaped by government that has for decades knowingly subsidised a loss making native forest logging industry.

Just to clarify, Future Potential Production Forests (FPPF) were made available for exchange or conversion to a logging zone. There were no applications from industry before April 8 as the exchange or transfer was not legislatively possible. Now it is.

The transfer is not yet formalised and there will still be legislative processes to go through, but the logging industry and government have been clear in their plans to do so. The reduced Parliamentary sitting period has also slowed things down a bit.

While approval for logging of individual areas has not yet formalised, and as we know could not be until the 8th of April 2020. There will still be legislative and regulatory maneuvers to go through, however logging industries intention for these areas is irrefutable.

It is not important that there have been no applications to log these forests made or received to date. It is important that no applications be allowed to be lodged, and secure protection of these Future Potential Production Forests and all of Tasmania’s native forests is legislated.

Although the legislated quota of native forest sawlogs is not even being utilised, Forest Industries Association of Tasmania (FIAT) are claiming they want more. We know the initial push is for 60,000 to 120,000 hectares of the Future Potential Production Forests and who knows how much more to come? This information is documented in Parliament from an ongoing series of meetings the government has conducted regarding the development of a case for logging these areas.

Premier Gutwein has announced that Parliament will resume on 27 April with its current sitting schedule, albeit with a reduced number of days.  The re-introduction of Parliamentary oversight is very welcome.  With this reintroduction of Parliament  brings a renewed urgency on FPPF conversion.  The resumption of Parliament will enable an order converting or exchanging FPPF land to be tabled and accepted by both the lower and upper Houses. 

We are reaching out to upper house members encouraging them to save Tassie's forests, and not vote for the passage of the FPPF forests into logging zones.

As Minister for Climate Change, Premier Gutwein needs to take serious action to mitigate climate impacts such as logging native forests. Providing permanent protection for Tasmania’s globally significant tract of native forests, including the Future Potential Production Forests. Independent science studies from ANU, Melbourne University and UTAS tells us that it is essential to protect our forests for their role as carbon banks, to protect biodiversity and also the most cost-effective method for reducing emissions.

Our forests in north east Tasmania are also the heart of the adventure tourism and ecotourism revival that has taken place off the back of the forested mountain bike trails of Blue Derby and St Helens MTB trails. These trails are held by the forests in the PTPZ and FPPF areas. Logging these forests undermines the basis of this industry, and the chance for emergent ecotourism and outdoor based industries to thrive. As Minister for Tourism, and an elected member for Bass, Premier Gutwein is aware of the federal and state government grants that built these trails, and the economic and social advantages they have brought to the north east of Tasmania. The Liberal Government is a strong supporter of the Blue Derby bike trails and we have contributed $800,000 into its development from our Cycling Tourism Fund. Along with this, the Government has also committed over $300,000 to support racing events on the trails. Logging the forests hosting these trails undermines these grants and the industry.

Tasmania’s native forests need secure and permanent protection from logging and other intensive extractive industries.

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