Labor reviewing forestry stance

Labor leader Bryan Green
Labor leader Bryan Green

LABOR is leaving the door open to back the Liberal move to scrap the forestry peace deal, in what would be a major policy reversal.

The Liberal government tabled its Rebuilding the Forest Industry Bill yesterday, which is set to be debated when Parliament returns at the end of the month. 

The key plank of the legislation is to block any new reserves, making 400,000 hectares of forests, protected under the now-defunct Tasmanian Forests Agreement, available for logging in six years.  

While in government Labor strongly backed the forestry agreement process and implemented the compromise reached between environment groups and industry. 

However, new Labor leader Bryan Green yesterday indicated the party was reconsidering its stance.  

``We will study the legislation, we will continue to work with the industry to understand what their position is,'' Mr Green said. 

He criticised the proposed legislation as failing to meet the Liberals' tough pre-election talk on forestry because it did not increase the wood supply available for the industry. 

Resources Minister Paul Harriss has also wound up the Special Council, made up of environment and industry representatives, which were overseeing the implementation of the TFA. 

Mr Harriss said the new legislation set the industry on a new course based on science, not politics. 

He expected to appoint members to a high-level ministerial advisory council within weeks. 

Environmental groups slammed the legislation which they said would only undermine the industry.


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