Our state and federal governments signed away our native forests exactly 19 years ago today (3rd Feb 1997). They were deemed exempt from commonwealth environmental laws. Ever since our forests have fed a massive overseas woodchip market.
This immunity from the law will end next year and the Turnbull Government wants to roll over this special treatment without pause or scrutiny.
Much of our wildlife is now critically endangered due to ongoing destruction of habitat. Thousands of hectares of our original rich forests have been and are still being converted to uniform single species tree crops across the country; a desert compared to the once diverse forests brimming with birds and wildlife.
The Leadbeaters Possum, Swift parrot, Greater Gliders, Quolls and so many others are now on a downhill path yet there is no let-up in the destruction.
To roll-over these 20 year exemptions from the law would be a deplorable act, more so because our timber and woodchip needs are almost exclusively met by plantation wood supplies today.
Why is this destructive, archaic, unpopular and uneconomic industry so protected and favoured? Forests are now widely recognised as being more valuable for water, clean air, climate moderation and habitat than as a cheap export commodity. Will our governments recognise this?
Read EEG’s media release 20 year legal exemption must go
Read Senator Janet Rice’s media release Greens push for 21st century vision for Australia’s native forests