This morning outside the ALP Conference the Wilderness Society and STAA protested the destruction of Tasmania’s old growth forests with a tree sit and banner drop at Darling Harbour, Sydney. They called on the Federal ALP to make protection of these forests a key priority in the lead up to the Federal election.
"In the past the Federal ALP has done great things for the Australian environment," said Francesca Andreoni, Wilderness Society campaigner. "The protection of the Franklin in 1983 was just the beginning of a positive time of environmental action from the Hawke Labor government. Protection of the Daintree 1988, South West Tasmania World Heritage Area 1988, and Kakadu (Stage3) were all initiatives of the Hawke/Labor government. Environmental vision was an essential aspect of the vibrant early years of that government."
"We are calling on the ALP to once again show leadership on the environment and adopt a policy to protect Tasmania’s old growth forests," said Andreoni. This would require the Labor party to commit to protecting Tasmania’s old growth forests as National Parks and to ending woodchipping in all native forests.
"It is important that Federal ALP delegates understand that ending clearfelling alone is not sufficient to protect the environment, solve the problem of Tasmania’s old growth forests or win them any votes."
There are about 240,000 ha of old growth forests which need to be permanently protected. This accounts for about one quarter of the public forests available for logging in Tasmania. It includes icons such as the Tarkine, Australia’s largest temperate rainforest and the Styx Valley, home to the world’s tallest hardwood trees.
Francesca Andreoni, NSW Campaign Manager, The Wilderness Society
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