Milne claims pulp strategy

AUSTRALIAN Greens leader Christine Milne has accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott of trying to remove 123,000 hectares of forest from World Heritage listing so that it can be logged and used in a pulp mill.

Ms Milne wrote to the World Heritage Committee chairman and Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim yesterday to ask that they reject any attempt to revoke the listing, and said the Greens  planned to ``advocate strongly'' that the 2013 committee decision should stand. 

``Is Tony Abbott seeking to withdraw our wonderful old-growth forests from World Heritage listing just so they can change the pulp mill permits and make it a native forest-based pulp mill?'' Ms Milne asked.

It was revealed on Thursday that federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt had already written to the World Heritage Committee saying he would propose that   areas be delisted by the February 1 deadline of the next meeting.

Mr Hunt did not detail which areas the federal government wanted excluded from the World Heritage Area.

``It's quite bizarre  we have heavily logged and destroyed areas which simply weren't up to standard being added,'' Mr Hunt said.

Ms Milne said a very small percentage of land listed had been logged and  Mr Hunt was ``ignorant of the World Heritage process''.

``It's not unusual for World Heritage to include areas that have been previously logged,'' she said.

Lyons MHR Eric Hutchinson said the World Heritage Committee ``would be alarmed to learn that great swathes of what it believes is pristine Tasmanian forest instead features quarries and rubbish tips''.

Tasmanian Liberal forestry spokesman Peter Gutwein rejected Ms Milne's claims that native wood would be used in a pulp mill.

``The fact is, these areas are not pristine as claimed, and are needed to support the hundreds of jobs in our high-quality, high-value speciality timber industry, such as fine furniture, crafts, and boatbuilding,'' Mr Gutwein said.


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