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Branchline Mar 11, 2011

Statement of Principles

Over the next few days there will be a lot of media comment about the Statement of Principles and the request by the Tasmanian Government for Forestry Tasmania to do all in its power to progress a moratorium on so called 'High Conservation Value Forest' and at the same time supply contracted sustainable quantity and quality of wood supply. (see attached)

Yesterday (Thurs), following a meeting between the signatories to the Statement of Principles, I met with Mr Bill Kelty, who is overseeing the negotiations between the processing sector and environmental groups.

Mr Kelty believes an agreement may be possible, if the proposed pulp mill at Bell Bay proceeds.

Mr Kelty advised that the processing sector and ENGO groups had struck an agreement on a set of principles to guide the development and implementation of a moratorium.

These principles are as follows:

  1. The ENGOs have identified the boundaries of the ENGO claimed High Conservation Value (HCV) areas.
  2. It is agreed that logging will not occur in that area, unless
    - It is necessary to meet existing contracts
    - for the assurance of wood supply for existing industry subject to the approval of reference group
  3. The reference group consisting of Jane Calvert, Sean Cadman, Phil Pullinger, Ed Vincent, Allan Hansard and Terry Edwards and or nominees shall be established to oversee any adjustments or transition within this period.
  4. There is recognition that the group shall have resource to Professor Jerry Vanclay or other available and suitable person/s if independent analysis is required.
  5. It is further recognised that there will be additional costs which need Federal Governments to recognise and contribute.
  6. It is recognised that there will be a transition period whilst the arrangements for the moratorium are finalised between the subcommittee and Forestry Tasmania.
  7. The agreement is for a six month period beginning from today's date the 11th March.

If there is no ultimate agreement by the signatories it is understood that this agreement does not prejudice the position of any party. (see attached)

Mr Kelty has also advised that he will request the Australian Government to fund the costs associated with implementing a progressive moratorium - acknowledging that it would be impossible for Forestry Tasmania to start to implement a progressive moratorium without the funds from Government.

I appreciate that many of you will be uncertain about the process from here and what that will mean for Forestry Tasmania.

There are a couple of simple points that are worth repeating:

  1. We are not being asking to break any of our existing contracts and we will not.
  2. The Government has made it clear that there will be ongoing native forest harvesting.
  3. An ongoing wood supply sufficient to meet our contractual obligations and the needs of the processing sector, is as important as the moratorium.

From here, we will work with all parties, in a spirit of goodwill, to achieve a moratorium while still maintaining supplies to our customers.

I am concerned that the various announcements might give rise to unrealistic expectations. We cannot implement a moratorium overnight and still meet our contracted obligations. By necessity, some coupes in the area proposed by ENGOs for reservation will be logged over the next six months, and that has been acknowledged by the ENGOs.

It is also acknowledged by all parties that all the coupes scheduled for harvest over the next six months represents a tiny fraction of the overall area proposed for reservation the ENGOs.

Bob Gordon
Managing Director
Forestry Tasmania

6235 8225

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