State denies pamphlet's forest claims

A LETTERBOX-DROP campaign has claimed that 1.5 million hectares of Tasmanian forest will be opened for "chainsaw" logging under the new forestry legislation being considered by the Legislative Council.

But the state government has strongly denied the claims.

Earlier this week the Bob Brown Foundation and Markets for Change commissioned pamphlets claiming the state government had abandoned its plans for a 400,000 hectare reserve in favour of logging a wider area for "specialty timbers" only.

According to the information in the pamphlet, all 147 existing regional reserves would also be opened for logging.

The pamphlets were dropped in letterboxes in Launceston and Hobart on Thursday.

Bob Brown Foundation campaign manager Jenny Weber said the pamphlets exposed information that had been hidden in the new forestry bill.

"We've found by research and studying the bill that this issue goes a lot further than what was promised by the state government,"' she said yesterday.

"The idea is to put the info there for all residents to see and expose what's really in the bill.

"The intention is to say to Mr Hodgman that we don't want the 400,000 hectares abandoned, but we don't want 1.5 million hectares opened up for logging either - there has to be another way."'

Market for Change chief executive Peg Putt called the joint letterbox campaign the group's "most successful in recent memory".

"This has seriously hit a nerve," Ms Putt said.

"On our Facebook, when I last looked, we had about 32,000 people look at it and I know the Bob Brown Foundation has 100,000 views.

"The pickup on social media has certainly exceeded expectations. It's been our biggest social media campaign in recent memory, for sure."

But a spokesperson for Resource Minister Paul Harriss dismissed the information in the pamphlet and labelled the claims "demonstrably false".

"The Forestry Bill does not provide for native forest timber harvesting in any existing reserves," the spokesperson said.

"The Forestry Bill simply removes an inconsistency between the wording for management objectives and purposes of reservation for regional reserves and conservation areas, and also removes references to the Tasmanian Forests Agreement Act 2013, which will be repealed by the new legislation."

It remains unclear when a vote on the new forestry legislation will take place.


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