THERE is one question every legislative councillor needs to answer before they vote on the forest deal before them: Do you want a native forest industry in Tasmania?
If the answer to that question is yes, the only option is to vote against the bill.
Supporting it will sign the death warrant of the industry.
There is so much wrong with this proposal, but the very worst of it was highlighted by a story in The Examiner this week about a group of old- timers from the Great Western Tiers.
They were clearly wounded because they had not been asked about the IGA or areas included in the related World Heritage nomination.
Some of them had family connections to the area going back seven generations and knew of parts that had been logged three times over that period.
For all the hyperbole around this so-called deal, that's why it is such a complete dud.
This is Tasmania. It's not the green groups' to claim and it is not the timber industry's to give away.
It is this simple: lock up any more of this state and the timber industry is dead by 2030, probably sooner.
That is clear from the wood supply projections completed under the IGA process. They are not my numbers and they are indisputable.
That is, of course, what the Greens want. They are openly campaigning all over Australia for an end to the native forest industry.
The absurdity is that a native forest-based industry gives better environmental outcomes than the plantation future the Greens are promoting.
A native forest regime will store more carbon, is better for biodiversity, uses no chemicals, is better for water quality, better for landscape values, helps mitigate bush fires and provides higher-quality products.
Aren't they the values we all aspire to?
The other thing that really stinks is that new plantations required by the changes contained in this regulation will take up 130,000 hectares of land - that's trees on 20 per cent of our agricultural land.
At a time we are banking on expansions in dairy, poppies, wine making and others.
When we desperately need to rebuild the Tasmanian economy after years of mismanagement, we're going to put two of our key economic pillars at risk.
To make things worse, the government is using $270 million of taxpayers' money to shut down an industry.
If we are smart there is a positive plan.
By taking advantage of the exit of Gunns from the industry, we can reduce the intensity of harvest in our forests and extend the rotations, which will in turn provide higher quality sawlogs and higher value timber and timber products.
An environmental gain, industry gain and community gain.
Now factor in investment into new engineering technologies. Take away some of the illogical restrictions on use of residues driven by old- thinking green ideology and you open the opportunity for the generation of base-load renewable energy.
There's also the potential of high tech cellulose-based products.
The industry will still have its challenges, but under these conditions there is a strong future.
There is a real future for a smart, sustainable and renewable industry around native timber in Tasmania.
We should feel for the members of the Legislative Council. Without doubt they are dealing with the most critical decision facing the state in many years.
To their credit, this is the first level of government prepared to offer any real scrutiny or consultation around these reforms.
But they do have a clear choice: give hope and life to Tasmania's forest industry or condemn it to a certain demise.
It is that simple.