The Howard Government has conceded logging in Tasmania may be illegal, but is refusing to act against it.
The federal Forestry Minister, Eric Abetz, initially poo-pood the claim that there were national implications from the Tasmanian Wielangta court case. Now he’s bemoaning the fact that the judgment could affect all sorts of land uses (and abuses). So – he’ll work to change environmental laws to aid developers and exploiting industries.
The decision found that Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, our one Federal environmental law, has teeth. So the Howard Government must uphold the law and enforce the protection and recovery of threatened species. But Senator Abetz wants to extract those teeth.
Soon after, Abetz said that the finding was wrong, then he said – well – okay, it could be right but we’ll change the rules to get around that. He then told the Weekend Australian (13/1) he was unsure about it but trusted the Tasmanian Government would do the right thing! The very same Tassie Government that had just been found to be breaking the law. Even Forestry Tasmania wouldn’t say whether or not its logging was legal or illegal. Tasmania’s Premier, Paul Lennon, confirmed there was now “great doubt” about the industry’s legal footing. Meanwhile they duck, weave and dither.
The Tassie Labor Government and the Howard Government have had a secret get-together scheming to change the law to allow the illegal practices to continue to drive threatened species to extinction.