Big majority sick of forest war

MORE than 90 per cent of Tasmanians are sick of the conflict over native forestry and support an agreement to end it, according to new polling.

And two-thirds believe the Tasmanian Forests Agreement, which is being implemented by the state government, is the way to end the decades-long war between loggers and environmentalists.

The EMRS poll of 800 Tasmanians, obtained by The Examiner, was commissioned in December by the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources on behalf of the Special Council made up of signatories to the deal.

Regardless of support for the agreement, 92 per cent said it was important to reach an agreement to end the conflict, with 72 per cent describing it as "very important".

The results undermine claims made by the Liberal Party, which has vowed to tear up the deal if elected on March 15, that the majority do not support the deal.

It shows just one in five Tasmanians opposed the agreement while the remaining 14 per cent were unsure.

The detailed community research also examined the reasons why people were in favour or against the agreement negotiated by representatives of the forestry industry, unions and mainstream green groups and implemented by the Labor-Greens minority government last year.

The agreement paves the way for more than 500,000 hectares of forests to be protected and reduces wood supply to 130,000 cubic metres a year.

Of the 66 per cent who backed the agreement, a third named protecting forests as the main reason, and another third selected the need to find a balanced and sustainable solution. More than a quarter thought the agreement would create employment.

Those opposed to the agreement cited job losses and locking up too much forest.

Opinion was divided on the likelihood of the TFA to succeed and achieve its aims.

The Liberals are yet to detail how they would unwind the legislated agreement and rebuild the industry.

Yesterday the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania, a signatory to the deal, accused the Greens of failing to publicly support the deal during the election campaign.

FIAT chief executive Terry Edwards said the industry felt betrayed by the Greens citing Bass Greens MHA Kim Booth's failure to reaffirm the Greens' commitment to the outcomes of the agreement. Mr Booth voted against the TFA in Parliament last year, while his four Greens colleagues supported it.


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