Liberals vow to tear up agreement

ENVIRONMENTALISTS say a survey showing support for the Tasmanian Forests Agreement sends a warning to the Liberals, but the party is having none of it.

An EMRS poll commissioned by the Infrastructure, Energy and Resources Department found that 90 per cent of the 800 Tasmanians polled wanted an end to native forest conflict and two-thirds believed the agreement was the way to do it.

Also backing the agreement is Australian Forest Contractors Association chief executive Colin McCulloch.

He said he was not surprised by the survey results, as most people wanted an end to forest conflict.

However, at his campaign launch in Launceston yesterday, Opposition Leader Will Hodgman singled out the forest industry as a big loser in the drive for more jobs.

Liberal resources spokesman Peter Gutwein backed that up later, saying that the Liberals would tear up the agreement.

He said if elected to government, the party would quickly open up native forests to logging and any complaints should be directed to the Greens.

``We want to rebuild the forestry industry and the jobs it can provide for Tasmania, especially regional Tasmania,'' Mr Gutwein said.

``I believe very strongly that Tasmanians are sick and tired of being the environmental conscience of this country.''

Environment Tasmania spokesman Phill Pullinger said the forest agreement between environmentalists and the industry was based on mutual respect and a joint desire to resolve long-standing conflict.

``The Liberals' current position would take Tasmania back to the bad old days of broad-scale old-growth logging, conflict in the forests and job losses in the forestry industry,'' Dr Pullinger said.

Wilderness Society spokesman Vica Bayley said the survey showed the community supported what had been negotiated over the future of Tasmanian forests.

``It's part of moving forward, rather than moving backwards,'' Mr Bayley said of the agreement.

``Will Hodgman should take note of the evidence [of the survey].''

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