The Minister for Energy and Resources Bryan Green said today Forestry Tasmania needs to re-schedule its harvesting operations to maintain timber supplies to its customers and implement the six month moratorium on high conservation value forests as part of the Statement of Principles process.
Mr Green said considerable progress has been made since he wrote to the Chair of Forestry Tasmania last month asking FT to support the moratorium and wood supply undertakings, once agreed by all signatories to the Statement of Principles.
“Subject to FT meeting all of its contractual, fiduciary and legal obligations it should do all in its power to progress these two issues,” Mr Green said.
“Subsequently, Mr Bill Kelty negotiated an agreement between the signatories to implement as far as possible a six month moratorium on 572,000 ha subject to maintaining supply.
Mr Green said the moratorium replaced the voluntary moratorium FT placed on 39 coupes last year.
“A sub-committee of ENGO and industry signatories has been formed to oversee the process.
Mr Green said that about 98 per cent of the 572,000 hectares was now effectively under a moratorium.
“The remaining two per cent is required to maintain supplies and to ensure FT meets all its obligations.
“Under the process negotiated by Mr Kelty the sub-committee of the signatories is working with FT on identifying the coupes required to meet these obligations.
Mr Green said the process has been further complicated by the current shutdown of the Gunns Triabunna mill the only export outlet for pulpwood in southern Tasmania.
"FT has prepared a rescheduling plan so that it can to the best of its ability meet the twin objectives of maintaining supply and achieving a moratorium while also minimising the amount of pulpwood residues that arise from harvesting for sawlogs and peeler billets.
“That plan will of course be discussed by the signatories’ sub-committee.
Mr Green said the there would be a transition period, as contractors move from coupes with high pulpwood volumes to coupes with low pulpwood volumes.
“Forestry Tasmania has advised that during the transition period, there may be a temporary shortfall in volumes. FT is working with Ta Ann on a mitigation strategy for the transition.
"The greater the cooperation with signatories and those activists operating outside the process the sooner we will move to a resolution.
“They can be assured FT is working hard to assist the peace talks a fact acknowledged by Mr Kelty who has thanked FT for its active facilitation of the process.
Contact: Matthew Sullivan 0407 816 462