Tasmanian protestors offer campaign suspension3 April 2012
Australian environmental groups have presented an olive branch to timber interests in Tasmania, offering to suspend campaigns in overseas markets for one month in return for a moratorium on logging in contested forests.
Markets for Change, the Huon Environment Centre, The Last Stand and Still Wild Still Threatened have said they were willing to stop campaigning overseas to give the forest peace deal a chance.
But in return they want logging to stop in the 572,000ha being considered for protection under the Intergovernmental Agreement on forestry. The agreement, signed last year by prime minister Julia Gillard and Tasmania’s premier Lara Gidding, is aimed at helping the timber industry move away from old-growth logging.
Markets for Change spokesperson Peg Putt said the offer was to help parties to the forest peace deal come to an agreement.
"We will suspend our market action in Japan for the period of one month on the condition that logging is suspended within the entire 572,000ha of forest that has not been independently verified to have those high conservation values," she said. "It is an absolute nonsense to continue logging the very forests that you're talking about protecting and to be daily destroying the values that you might decide were actually worth saving.
"The time has come to stop that logging and if that happens we'll stop our markets campaign in Japan so that those talks about how the future of the forests and the forest industry might be secured might go ahead."