A PROMINENT forestry industry representative who has lobbied MLCs to approve legislation to enact the forestry peace deal has defended his right to hold a different view in private.
Forest Industries Association of Tasmania chief executive Terry Edwards was quizzed yesterday about his decision to sign a coffin representing the death of the forestry industry outside Parliament a week after he signed the historic Tasmanian Forests Agreement.
"Why did I do it? You won't find the name of FIAT on the coffin or anywhere near it, and what I do as a private citizen is frankly my business," Mr Edwards said.
The issue was raised yesterday during the Legislative Council's inquiry into the Tasmanian Forests Agreement Bill 2012.
Pembroke Liberal MLC Vanessa Goodwin questioned whether Mr Edwards's participation in the anti-forestry-legislation protest would be confusing.
Mr Edwards responded: "I'm entitled to my private views in my private life. I accept your criticism to the extent that it does create some confusion."
Mr Edwards has been one of the most vocal supporters of the deal publicly and has urged MLCs to approve the legislation to implement the agreement.
Yesterday he told the inquiry to reject the state government's proposed changes to the process to create new reserves because they would scrap a key durability test.
If the amendments were adopted, about 385,000 hectares of forests would be immediately protected instead of requiring a separate protection order to be passed by Parliament later.
In between time, signatories to the deal would have assessed progress on key aspects of the agreement, including the government's decision on how production forests are managed and strategies to deal with sawlog residues.