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New danger for Australian World Heritage wilderness

Australia’s new government plans to axe not only the carbon price, but also iconic, World Heritage-listed, Tasmanian forests. Opening these forests for logging would break international law, and that would…

Opening Tasmania’s World Heritage forests to logging is unlawful and uneconomic. Rob Blakers www.robblakers.com

Australia’s new government plans to axe not only the carbon price, but also iconic, World Heritage-listed, Tasmanian forests. Opening these forests for logging would break international law, and that would damage Australia’s reputation, demand for forestry products, and Tasmania’s clean, green brand upon which other industries rely.

In June this year, the World Heritage Committee approved Australia’s request to expand the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area by more than 170,000 hectares. The expansion was along the area’s northern (Great Western Tiers) and eastern (valleys of the Huon, Weld, Styx and upper Florentine) boundaries.

As Australia’s Environment Department states, in addition to listing glacial alpine areas such as Mt Field National Park:

The extension [protects] additional areas of exceptional beauty, particularly majestic stands of tall eucalypt forests… increases the extent of wet eucalypt forests within the property and will enhance the connectivity between its tall eucalypt forest and rainforest.

Additional important habitat for rare and threatened species such as the endangered wedge-tailed eagle and the Tasmanian devil are also included in the boundary extension.

The extension is the most important conservation result from the Tasmanian Forest Agreement between the Australian and Tasmanian Governments.

Coalition seeks World Heritage removal for logging

The Coalition’s forestry spokesman said this week “I have already written to the World Heritage Council [sic] seeking to have these areas removed”.

That’s premature: Australian law makes meeting World Heritage obligations the Environment Minister’s responsibility.

The federal government plans to log World Heritage listed forests, such as these in the Styx Valley. Rob Blakers www.robblakers.com

Tasmanian Liberal Opposition leader Will Hodgman said this week that if elected in March 2014, he would send the state-owned corporation Forestry Tasmania into the delisted World Heritage areas to log specialty [old growth rainforest] timbers:

We’d allow that to happen and to provide that resource that’s needed to grow the industry … including in the recently listed world-heritage area.

Logging a World Heritage area would ruin Australia’s reputation

Logging this area would be unlawful. The World Heritage Committee’s decision was supported by voluminous documentation. It authoritatively confirms the forests’ World Heritage significance or “outstanding universal value”.

Logging such forests (even after delisting) would breach Australia’s international law obligations under the World Heritage Convention and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

It could also put all of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage on the In Danger list. World Heritage expert Professor Peter Valentine has flagged that the Committee would see “Any threat to [newly listed forests as] a threat to the entire World Heritage area in Tasmania”. This could place the entire property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Convention’s Operational Guidelines include “Severe deterioration of the natural beauty or scientific value of the property, as by … logging” as a ground for the Committee listing a property as In Danger. That listing is a precursor to its ultimate sanction of removal from the World Heritage List.

Normally, nations fight to keep their World Heritage properties off the In Danger list, as Australia did over uranium mining in Kakadu, and when rabbits were ravaging Macquarie Island. Australia is now trying to stop the Great Barrier Reef being placed on the In Danger list.

If Australia logs its World Heritage forests, it could only exacerbate the Committee’s current concern for the Great Barrier Reef.

Unlawful World Heritage logging, let alone In Danger listing, would damage Australia’s reputation, given nearly all nations are Parties to the World Heritage Convention.

Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said of reversing these forests' listing: “We can work with the international community on this. It’s not difficult. It’s what governments do all the time.”

Diplomacy yes; but not World Heritage delisting. That has occurred only twice before. The closest parallel to a government deliberately damaging World Heritage values is the Taliban dynamiting two giant Bamiyan Buddha statues in 2001.

This plan would see World Heritage listed rainforest logged in the Weld Valley. Rob Blakers www.robblakers.com

Bad news for Tasmania

World Heritage logging and associated controversy would also harm Tasmania’s clean, green brand on which other industries such tourism, agriculture and aquaculture rely.

The main rationale for the delisting plan is that the Coalition wants to do everything possible to “unpick” the Tasmanian Forest Agreement.

World Heritage logging would strike at the TFA’s heart. It would deny Tasmania the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification on which Japanese customers now insist, and escalate protests in the forests and markets.

As Acting Premier and Resources Minister Bryan Green stated:

International customers have made it very clear they want the unrest to stop, they want certified timber products and they support the objectives of the TFA. The TFA gives us the opportunity to not only regain markets that have been lost but to get the industry back on a growth path.

The representative bodies which negotiated the forests agreement are also publicly opposing the Coalition’s plan: the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania, sawmillers’ and forest contractors’ associations, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union and environmental organisations.

World Heritage logging would be a giant leap backwards, plunging Tasmania back into the “forest wars” which have divided the island’s communities for decades.

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117 Comments sorted by

  1. Michael Shand

    Software Tester

    Great Article, it seems strange that the forestry industry would be against this and yet it would still go forward

    If the forestry industry is against it then where is the push coming from, whats the motivation

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Martin Male

      Micheal,
      It's time for you to finally understand that global warming is now in a global paradigm shift.
      Around the world, people are sick of a lack of hard evidence and the void of knowledge being filled with "could happen", "might happen", "we project that ", "In the future", "Precautionary Principle...." The time for strung out guesses is ending. Your choice is to live with the change or go down screaming with a diminishing, minority view.
      Name me one impact of climate change that has affected you.

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    2. Neville Mattick
      Neville Mattick is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grazier: ALP Member at A 4th Generation Grazing Station

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Could you tell the readers' the answer to this; What if you are wrong?

      As the faint voice of our Climate Scientists fades into 'oblivion' can you spell out Plan B (assuming Plan A doesn't require action on Climate Change.)

      Aside from that; This article sets me on edge as a healthy warning of where our Ecosystem will go (in the current political climate) and that with its collapse, the dependant being will also - go.

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    3. Peter Banks

      retired Civil Engineer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      You deny the side issue (to the main article) of climate change. But not that the Coalition is showing complete contempt for the environment. Perhaps you wish to be applauded for that stance?

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    4. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Reality is Geoffrey, timber products which have been legally and independently assessed to be sustainable, are granted and stamped, with a certification value. This move is in line with consumer sentiment to assist halting illegal logging.
      Will these timber products obtain certification overseas?
      Will timber be ascertained to be able to gain certification in Australia?
      Who will buy it?

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    5. Marie Bosworth

      Administration

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      In this case however, it's not what "could happen", it's what "will happen" if we log old growth forests. We just don't have that many left in the world, and once it's gone, it's gone. There are trees in those forests that are hundreds, some even thousands of years old. If you want to talk in economic terms, then preserving such places is an investment, as they truly are remarkable places to visit and their value as tourism destinations will grow.

      I just don't see that a country which is as economically…

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    6. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      I always find it interesting how quickly these discussions become personal. Scientific evidence is not about individual ante dotes, it is about a systematic collection of data and the thorough analysis of this.
      I can list many impacts on me personally, however this is not about me personally it is about this planet we live on! I the area I grew up in Central West NSW we used to have heavy snow falls annually , so deep @ times that the train would have to be stopped the tracks cleared and salt…

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    7. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Martin Male

      Martin.
      First you say that we depend on data, then you give anecdotes about tomatoes.
      Anecdotes don't match the temperature & rainfall & snow data for you area, which is easily accessible online. In any case, these have hardly varied in most of Australia for the last 20 years, apart from tiny natural variation around the average.
      I don't know the source of your apocalypse data for 50 years hence. The way the IPCC is winding back its belief in man made global warming, I suspect that in 50 years time it won't even score a mention at dinner parties.

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    8. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Ahh I knew this would Happen ask me for "Name me one impact of climate change that has affected you." then attack when I do so"First you say that we depend on data, then you give anecdotes about tomatoes.". I invite you to re-read my post .
      I simply don't agree with your opinion/assertions about global warming as they are not fact based. I have not heard any where your assertion that "The way the IPCC is winding back its belief in man made global warming" All the material I have heard based on Arctic melts and current flow changes in the worlds oceans has shown escalations
      My sense is that whatever is presented you will simply hold to your ideas, your choice.

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    9. Mark Poynter

      Forester

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice

      Virtually all of Australia's native forest management agencies are already certified to the Australian Forestry Standard which is an Australian Standard developed by a technical committee of practitioners, consumers, and environmental interests over several years in the early 2000s. This was developed under the umbrella of the Pan European Forest Certification (PEFC) scheme, under which the majority of the world's natural forests are certified.

      This is virtually unknown because of the…

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  2. David Bentley

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Just another sad example of what our environment is in for under the new regime. In an interview recently Tony Abbott described himself as a "committed conservationist". Possibly one of the funniest things he has said in recent times.

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    1. Lynne Newington

      Researcher

      In reply to David Bentley

      That's because Pope Francis is pro-conservation recently calling for respect and protection of the entire creation God has entrusted to man.

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    2. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Abbott is confusing 'conservationist' with 'conservative', in his Bizarro World the two are interchangeable.

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    3. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Hmmm .......I agree ..I thought it was ironic that the LNP were arguing for a change by voting for the conservatives ;) Seems to have slipped by unnoticed!

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    4. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Where did the incoming PM say that, Dianna? Or are you just making it up?
      I think he inhabits a quite normal world and await evidence to the contrary, should it happen.

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    5. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey

      "Abbott is confusing 'conservationist' with 'conservative'."

      As if Abbott would admit to such a failing. I made my comment based on observation of his actions - actions which include dismantling any progress Australia has made towards sustainable technology. As this above article has clearly demonstrated.

      That you presume to use the word "evidence" with no comprehension of what is meant by such - is another example of someone living in Bizarro World.

      I must be feeling most generous in that I have taken time to respond to you, a climate change denier. I won't be wasting any more of my valuable time on the deliberately ignorant.

      Toodles.

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Nicolas Bertin

      Personally, I look forward finally to the building of the Franklin below Gordon dam and the resultant hydro electricity benefitting us more than gastronomy and that strange term 'ecotourism'.
      Our quarterly domestic power bill arrived by email a few minutes ago and it's a whopper. It's a whopper because of what people are shy to discuss. It includes huge, non-dissected costs of building alternative energy devices that are providing electricity at 3 to 10 times the price of coal burning.
      That's crazy…

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    2. Nicolas Bertin

      Physicist

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      The construction of one dam will not affect your electricity bill. You're not paying that much because there are no dams in Tasmania, there are plenty of them. A new dam isn't the answer, electricity is expensive all over Australia. The problem is the lack of competition between electricity providers. Australia has no neighbors, and it's a huge unpopulated country. That's why you're paying so much, while Canada and the US, countries of comparable sizes, are paying much less. You could have dams and…

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    3. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Nicolas Bertin

      Nicolas,
      Basic economics says that one dam replacing wind or solar will lead to cheaper electricity, because the numbers are there to support the contention.

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    4. Nicolas Bertin

      Physicist

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      What basic economics ? Ones you've learnt in a bar ? The majority of the electricity produced in Tasmania IS ALREADY hydroelectric... You've the Gordon dam, 3 dams at Pedder. It's not like you've got millions of people to provide for in Tassie... The current excess is provided by Victoria and their coal plants. You speak as if the majority of electricity produced in Tassie is wind and solar, that simply isn't the case. Even when a new dam could make Tassie independent from Victoria for energy, that won't lower the prices so it's utterly pointless.

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    5. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Newton

      John,
      A starving person will eat the last dodo.

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    6. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Nicolas Bertin

      Thanks Nicolas for an outstanding and accurate analysis, that just what as needed:)
      One of the other main reason electricity is so expensive in Australia, is the electricity companies created a bias agreement with governments, where they can almost create their prices. The most striking example of this is the offsets for "investing" in infrastructure that isn't actually required. I recall an article here on The conversation, maybe

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    7. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Martin Male

      Martin,
      We are in agreement.
      There was no way that electricity companies should have got involved in building useless solar and wind powered generators. There was ample, prior economic analysis on country scale, like Spain.
      Also, I have a letter from my Victorian supplier who announced triumphantly, "The Federal Government said we could charge what we wished." That was the last Federal government, not the incoming one. Might be different in NSW.

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    8. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      No Geoffrey we are not I wasn't referring to "building useless solar and wind powered generators" in my comments. I was referring to towers, excess lines and substations. The relevant articles is here https://theconversation.com/why-australians-are-getting-a-raw-deal-on-electricity-prices-13296. Nothing to do with solar or wind power.

      I see the future is solar and wind. We simply cannot afford to use fossil fuels, particularly if we cut down the trees.

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    9. Nicolas Bertin

      Physicist

      In reply to Martin Male

      Indeed, you could have solar+wind or dams+coal, the price will stay the same or increase in the same way. The problem is the monopoly Australian electricity companies have. It's the exact same thing with Internet provider. They charge what they want, and it's not until a brave newcomer with a "bugger off I'm gonna charge a cheap and fair price that you should have charged years ago" that things will change. Having real and strong consumers rights associations would definitely help too, Australia is really behind compared to Europe in that area. In Europe, gas, electricity, internet or phone providers are often challenged in court by associations who blame them for having illegal agreements on fixed prices.

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    10. Mark Poynter

      Forester

      In reply to Nicolas Bertin

      Nicolas

      "Logging those areas would hardly relaunch the forestry industry, we have huge plantations all over Australia for that"

      Except that the plantations are being grown for a different product and even if left to grow longer to produce sawn timber, would take perhaps generations to produce the quality of wood obtainable from natural forests.

      "Tasmania's present and future is ecotourism and gastronomy"

      Sounds like yuppie nirvana..... and that native Taswegians need not apply! Tasmania…

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    11. Nicolas Bertin

      Physicist

      In reply to Mark Poynter

      You still don't seem to understand that those 170,000 ha of remote forests aren't there to attract tourists in the short term. They're here to protect significant wildlife habitat. World Heritage site shouldn't be limited to pristine areas : if an adjacent area that's already seen human occupation is important for native wildlife, then it's a good idea to preserve it as well. That's why I think it was the right decision. Sometimes World Heritage is also about returning the area to its original state.

      So what, you think because there's 1.4 million ha that's it ? Everything else is up for grabs ? They didn't do this addition to "destroy" the forestry industry, what would be the point in that ? That's just Abbott's trick to make you think Rudd is the enemy. It worked extremely well since he won, but destroying piece by piece what the previous government did isn't a political plan, it's just nonsense.

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  3. Mark Poynter

    Forester

    I'm afraid this is a simplistic article about what is a complex issue, and the faux outrage being created by the media on this is largely because the counter-arguments haven't been heard and are typically omitted by the 'save-the-planet' ideology of that part of the media that has any interest in these issues.

    The opposition to the 170,000 ha expansion is based both on the deceptive politicking that was used to achieve it, and the reality that although some of it is of WH quality, it also includes…

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    1. Nicolas Bertin

      Physicist

      In reply to Mark Poynter

      Simplistic ? You want the guy to write a book about it ? It's an article... Regarding roads, highways, or even power lines, Australia has a history of including those in its national parks, it's nothing new, it happens when either party is in charge...

      And they were right to push for WH listing for those "disturbed" areas, because as we know Australian legislation for National Parks is extremely weak. Being able to log, graze, hunt, or prospect and mine in National Parks is preposterous and one…

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    2. John Whelan

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Poynter

      You are quite correct Mark. Once you closely examine the actual story you find all kind of political shannigans designed to reduce logging in Tasmania and the available opportunities work with it. The 'Green set' who make most of the comments below are part of those who have created the problem that is Tasmania today. It is an economic basket-case. It is now little more than a large retirement park for those who imagine they would love to tramp through the forests but actually never do. In the meantime the children of Tasmanian families are forced to go to the mainland for work because all prospect of it has been killed in Tasmania by do-gooders. Well Australia spoke up for change last weekend and so have Tasmanians and they will get it. Those on the disgruntled fringe with their own agendas will be forced to stand aside because the Abbott government will be making changes to give everyone a better chance at life throughout Australia, including Tasmania.

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    3. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Whelan

      Tasmania an economic basket case huh? In what way? Just because a state does not destroy its environmental heritage in order to create profits for an extraction industry is a good thing.

      And the Abbott government will NOT be making changes to give everyone a better chance at life. They will be making changes to increase profits for their big business supporters - and bugger the rest of us.

      And guess what? We on the disgruntled fringe will not be standing aside. We will be getting in the way as much as possible and doing everything in our power to disrupt the agenda of the environmental vandals. But that's just what we in the 'Green set' do.

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    4. Phil Dolan

      Viticulturist

      In reply to John Whelan

      Tasmania has an amazing future. Well, I thought so until the quite incredibly stupid idea that we should return to the dark ages.

      The 'Green set' get blamed for the demise of forestry. I guess they should also take the blame for the demise of the blacksmithing industry. The truth is; woodchipping killed the forest industry.

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    5. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Nicolas Bertin

      Nicholas,
      You write "Being able to log, graze, hunt, or prospect and mine in National Parks is preposterous and one of the biggest shames of our country".
      Why is this, Nicholas? Have you done original research on the topic, or are you just bleating a Party Line?
      It is possible that your thoughts have been conditioned by material like the ignorant description of the former Minister Barry Cohen, who repeatedly used the phrase "Miners would Swiss cheese our National Parks." He ended up in Court…

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    6. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Mike,
      Who is setting out to destroy heritage?
      You might think that, but if you use actual examples, you will find that you are on the side of alarmism and on an insecure basis.
      For decades it has been evident that part of the thrust to create no-go areas was to provide the inside elite with a reason to get their nuts off in ecstasy from power; and to provide an almost personal hidey place away from the sweating masses.
      That's not egalitarian. It's crooked.

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    7. Marion Wilson

      retired

      In reply to John Whelan

      Tasmania may be a basket case because they depended on a cut it down ship it out mentality. Why are they not educating themselves to sustainable programs. Why hasn't there been 110% take up of the NBN - because they just want to chop down trees or they don't want to learn how to build a better mousetrap. Why did they chop down their apple trees when they could have sold a mountain of dried apple to the starving people of the Syria, Africa and India and an ocean of cider to China and Japan. There are great opportunities in Tasmania and the world loves their trees. Ask the people of South Gippsland how their steep hillsides have survived the recent heavy rains. They were once magnificent forests but were stripped bare for dairy farms and are now deeply scarred with landslips and erosion gullies.

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    8. Nicolas Bertin

      Physicist

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      The Ranger mine is your example ? Really ?? It had over 200 safety breaches over the years, with radioactive water and equipment contaminations. Kakadu is in an appalling state, ecologically speaking. No mine in the world can leave the landscape as pristine as before it was there, that's just industry communication. You can fill the hole and try to plant trees, that doesn't mean you haven't destroyed the whole ecosystem.

      And still thinking in terms of area is being really ignorant of how pollution…

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    9. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      ".....Mike....Who is setting out to destroy heritage?..."

      People like you Geoffrey.

      And you need to do some basic reading on the purposes of protected areas. I don't want to create no-go areas for the inside elite. I want to create no-go areas for native wildlife,

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    10. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to John Whelan

      Australians voted yes, house of reps- LNP 53.38 %, but in the senate the LNP % has gone down. They got a combined 37.29%. They do not have a mandate. A mandate is when both houses are controlled by one party. The Australian public clearly did not want to give control to them.

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    11. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Mike & Nicolas,
      Your arguments above are blown out of the water by the simple fact of history that the Ranger deposits were discovered in 1969. World Heritage, Stage 1, was October 1981.
      So those Sovereignty-grabbing faceless bureaucrats from the UN tried to take over land for which we had legitimate title. No compensation, either.
      As to the rest, you guys should realise that bloggers who invent material soon cease to be read as their dirty little tricks get exposed. You mob have a long record of inventing things about me which are plainly untrue.
      You are very poor at presenting data.
      Are you paid to write here? Do you do it in paid time?

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    12. Marie Bosworth

      Administration

      In reply to Mark Poynter

      Am I correct in thinking that, in summary, you are saying that only parts of the forests might be released from WH listing? Therefore we are not just talking about old growth, but also (relatively) recently logged areas etc?

      If that's the case, it does seem less worrying. However, wouldn't the type of activity involved in logging/mining have a knock on effect to the protected areas nearby?

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    13. Nicolas Bertin

      Physicist

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      lol are you serious when you say that ? You really think that a WH area is actually land stolen from its original country by the UN ? You're really living in your own bubble of nonsense aren't you... I'm talking about the Ranger mine's appalling succession of safety breaches and all of a sudden you're talking rubbish about the UN and the origins of the mine... Come on, stop talking and making a fool of yourself mate...

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    14. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "....As to the rest, you guys should realise that bloggers who invent material soon cease to be read as their dirty little tricks get exposed. You mob have a long record of inventing things about me which are plainly untrue. ...."

      Boom! And my irony meter explodes once again.

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  4. Roger Simpson

    logged in via LinkedIn

    This is an entirely ideological decision by the coalition and demonstrates they haven't noticed the hard negotiations from stakeholders over the recent decade. We have an industry learning to move forward and develop new sustainable markets and the coalition now wishes to wreck all of that. It is obvious they do not understand this complex issue and should therefore reserve judgement until they have sufficiently consulted with all parties. The attitude of Mr Hodgman is populist and trying to take advantage of the public dismay with the economy in general. The logging of old growth forests for low value pulp is demonstrably not the answer and harms other opportunities. Very sad indeed that we are led by such shortsighted ignorant leaders. I suppose expansion of coal mining and development of the Reef is next Mr Hunt.

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  5. John Newlands

    tree changer

    My objections have an element of NIMBYism since I live a few kilometres from Mt Field. However I'd throw a new objection...is this consistent with the push for increased soil carbon? It would be utterly bizarre if the Coalition paid farmers to increase soil carbon (however measured) while logging old growth forest. That involves felling trees that may be centuries old therefore wonders of nature. If the trunk is split the ancient log goes to the chipper to make paper. So much for treating nature with respect. Afterwards the logged area is torched and the wildlife poisoned. Carbon atoms sequestered as cellulose in the 18th century become atmospheric CO2 in the 21st.

    It's also unsustainable and effectively a form of wood mining. The timber industry has had the last 100 years to transition to plantation on already cleared land. Too much trouble, too slow, too expensive. Let's vandalise our natural heritage instead.

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Newlands

      John,
      Old growth forests have almost lost their ability to sequester more carbon. There is no difference between leaving them in-situ, or logging them and replacing them with new trees. Over terms of decades to centuries, the carbon balance is about the same.
      There is an argument relating to disturbance of habitat, but we know about that adequately to plan properly.
      I don't know of the use of poison on wildlife. Care to elaborate with actual cases? Who did it, when, where, with what poison for which creatures?

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    2. John Newlands

      tree changer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Logging rotations need to be very long say 80 years to equal the carbon neutrality of a mature forest. When the forest is felled it uses a lot of diesel then the stumps and thinnings are burned. That returns decades of carbon to the atmosphere. I believe also it dries the soil and reduces the shade and growth of seedlings. The reduced understorey (ie more open woodland) also means less carbon uptake and biodiversity.

      The topic of poisoning seems to be hush hush at the moment. A neighbour insists that Devil facial tumour disease was initially triggered by baits laced with 1080. Wallabies are shot and possums trapped. I know people involved in both. With the recent logging slowdown I'm not sure what the new practice will be if say WH areas are logged.

      Re jobs this industry doesn't employ many IT graduates. It's an old brute force economic model out of touch with the times.

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    3. Peter Banks

      retired Civil Engineer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      On what grounds are your claim that 'Old growth forests have almost lost their ability to sequester more carbon' made? Perhaps you have never spent time looking into and old growth forest and are mislead by the term old. For forests it means long established, but not decrepit, as you imply.

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    4. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      10-80, it's used with abandon after new trees are planted, and the old growth is clear felled, because the animals are starving. Did you say you have spent time in Tasmania? Designed to kill wallabies. bettongs, paddymellons, bandicoots etc
      When I lived in Tasmania in the 80's Robin Grey wanted to put a big concrete slab on top of the pristine Gogg Ranges, (the headwaters of the Mersey river), so that Tasmania could store Australia's uranium waste. A friend went to a couple of local pubs and spread…

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    5. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      So what? You asked the question, because you didn't know of any instances of poison on post old growth forest areas, You did not specify anything, except a lack of knowledge about use in general.
      How healthy is the market for previously listed world heritage forestry materials? What would it's accreditation be ? You know less than you think.

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  6. Robert Gray

    logged in via Facebook

    The article’s basis is the Coalition policy announced during the recent Federal election that resulted in a 12.5% swing against the ALP in the electorate of Lyons and a collapse of the green vote throughout Tasmania.
    This policy stated 'The coalition has never supported Labor’s recent rushed and political World Heritage Extension, which was put in place against the will of the Tasmanian people, and we will seek to have it removed.'
    This was prefaced 'with 44 percent of Tasmania’s land mass already…

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  7. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

    Boss

    Oh gnash, gnash, wail, wail.
    "Opening these forests for logging would break international law"
    Nonsense. You enter these conventions voluntarily, you can withdraw voluntarily if things are not working out.
    I've been to the High Court before over arguments about World Heritage. In two different places, ours areas of interest were so precious that they built Army training areas either adjacent or over the top. Bombs & artillery go off, tanks level trees etc. Precious indeed.
    One sensed that the World Heritage weapon was used to stop mining. In one of these areas, we had found uranium - on incomplete estimates, a few hundred million $$$ worth. But hey, that's nothing when you can save a region with Army training area qualifications for World Heritage.
    It's a sham. Admit it and get it off your chests.

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    1. Doug Fraser

      policy analyst at UNSW

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Well, you certainly got that off your chest. Full marks for honesty, if nothing else. We now know that you are not only a member of the HR Nichols Society (the only organisation in Australia which exists for the sole purpose of waging class war), but that you work for uranium miners and are prepared to use very expensive lawyers to lay down the advance barrage before you destroy world heritage directly.

      I'm sure this all makes sense in your own world view. But the rest of us, if we are wise, will judge everything you say from here on in the light of that world view.

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    2. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Doug Fraser

      Doug,
      You infer that my views are bigoted? Pot and black kettle syndrome, I suspect.
      Doug, I have contributed to your material wellbeing in a significant way, through my team and me adding tens of billions of dollars to the national resource inventory and to existing mines deriving exchange income. The mining boom benefited from our company's discoveries and helped ward off the dreaded GFC.
      Have you done reciprocally for me?
      You should drop your pretence of outrage and thank me, if you had a…

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    3. Peter Banks

      retired Civil Engineer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Your argument that because one has entered into an agreement voluntarily one can abrogate it at any time is disturbing to say the least. It strikes at the very basis of legality and erodes any trust anyone may have in you.

      Our society, and law, is built on trust, as is the international society and law. As soon as you state that 'You enter these conventions voluntarily, you can withdraw voluntarily if things are not working out.' you are stating that you cannot be trusted.

      Actually I think…

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    4. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Peter Banks

      Peter Banks,
      You have written so much uninformed drivel that 'm not even going to try to respond to it all.
      Example - there is no concept of trust in international agreements like World Heritage. There are provisions for withdrawing, it's just a matter of using them.

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    5. Lynne Newington

      Researcher

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      You're so right Geoffery, even for those signatory to UN Conventions, our new pope is threatening to withdraw from that if there's any more pressure to hand over all documments pertaining to clergy abuse, paedophilia and human rights breaches of covering up by January next year.

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    6. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice, are you talking about me and if so would you like to present your findings in a way lawyers can understand?
      You are allowed to invent things in the rough and tumble of blogging, but there is a line that you should not cross.
      You are possibly over the line. Be warned.

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    7. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      In this discussion, you have displayed many characteristic behaviours, insults, name calling, generalisations, flawed logic, ignorance. Discussing the topic is something I generally do, however if I decide to discuss a behaviour generally I am free to do so. Warn me all you like, I was describing a behavioural pattern generally. This discussion is about protection of World Heritage listed forests opened up for logging, with no thought to future generations

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    8. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice.
      To correct the history of events. World Heritage area have often been proclaimed in Australia in a way that fails to meet the wishes of the people. Looking back on the era, a few people, mostly in Labor Governments, had a temporary rush like premature ejaculation. I know this, because I hosted Prime Ministers and others around the country as they made some of their announcements. They were so unsure of what they were doing that without briefing notes, they would not have known what to say…

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    9. Doug Fraser

      policy analyst at UNSW

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Huff! Puff! SNORT! Just listen to all those ancient, festering grudges coming out again...

      Poor man, by and by I suppose you will go to your commodious grave following one last apoplexy, bemused and bitter to the end at the rank ingratitude shown by the Lower Orders for all the services you have so selflessly done them.

      I could almost feel sorry for you, if I had reason to believe you had ever had even the slightest experience of what it feels like to be on the side of politics that must learn…

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    10. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Doug Fraser

      Doug,
      You make the same mistake as many others, by attributing properties to me that come out of your imagination.
      I do not know if you have given to the nation such benefit as my team and I did. You have not said so.
      If you have, that is good. Part of national advancement comes from a rather higher than usual contribution from a few individuals like Gina Rinehart's father, part comes from the average person working in harmony with others at just above average rate. Money is important in the sense…

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    11. Daniel Boon

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Natalie B

      Natalie ... anyone who proclaims themselves as 'Boss' in a forum is most likely the opposite in real life ... don't sweat it : )

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    12. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Daniel Boon

      Daniel,
      For sh...'s sake will you stop fabricating stories and listen to the truth.
      I did not choose that salutation "Boss". It was done by the blog managers.
      I don't know why you guys keep inventing statements that are wrong, wrong, wrong.

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    13. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Natalie B

      Natalie,
      No, I am not a web policeman - but there are limits to unlawful libel.

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  8. Doug Fraser

    policy analyst at UNSW

    Just as it regularly amazes me to come across elderly Italians who still want to bring back Mussolini, or elderly Russians who want to bring back Stalin, people who don't know Tasmania must get regularly puzzled by the way such a high proportion of the state's population seems so determined to drag us all back into the 1950s.

    In fact, this is the big, undiscussable underlying reason behind the state's persistent failure to prosper. For generations both major parties have worked together in a…

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    1. Mark Poynter

      Forester

      In reply to Doug Fraser

      Doug

      You make a couple of good points, but you also ignore some realities about Tasmania.

      With regard to forestry, you are ignoring that there have been attempts to get away from the pardigm of being simply a seller of raw materials. One was a proposed pulpmill, the other was an attempt to develop a pilot biomass energy plant based on wood waste. In addition, a couple of Green entreprenuers purchased one of the State's three wood export facilities supposedly to turn it into a tourism venture…

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    2. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Mark Poynter

      Mark,
      Some years ago my company had APPM as a subsidiary and I used to sit in on monthly management meetings. It was a good forum for learning, though it was not comprehensive and was weighted towards industry. From this learning, there are a couple of important points that many people do not recognise, or do not want to recognise.
      As you would know, the driver for forestry is sawn timber, principally for use in construction, as in building domestic housing.
      Waste products like bark are put, with…

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    3. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey,

      I'm not sure what you learned on the APPM monthly management meetings, but you seem to have an odd view of the Australian timber market and in particular the usage of trees from the area being discussed here.

      Houses in this country are made almost exclusively from plantation pine (mostly radiata), 90% of which is produced domestically. The remainder is imported from Europe, but only due to the very weak domestic market there and high $A. This is crowding out local supply. We don't…

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    4. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      And actually Geoffrey, whilst I think about it, we also have a massive surplus of hardwood timber in this country as well thanks to the MIS schemes which converted large swathes of farmland to hardwood plantations in the late 90's and early 2000s. Most of these plantations are now worth pretty much nothing as the price of hardwood chips is through the floor and you can barely give these trees away now.

      In that context this issue looks less like a battle of economic rationalism vs the greenies…

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    5. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to David Bentley

      I agree with you David this is as you call it , simply an attempt by the neo cons to re-write history and the real mood of the people as they have done in recent elections. This is all about ideology as was most of the the LNP policies of the recent election. We all need to be aware of this is, in the next terms of parliament!!

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    6. Daniel Boon

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to David Bentley

      David (said) "We don't make houses from hardwood anymore"; so how many pines are F17 ... (I'd like to know next time I build)

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    7. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Daniel Boon

      As you know (because you asked the question) pines only generally go up to around F14.

      Next time you build you should weigh up both the costs and benefits of higher F gradings. I think you'll find, like 95% of home builders in Australia, Europe and the US, that softwood provides more than sufficient stress characteristics for most dwellings.

      Thus my statement stands. The absolute vast majority of houses built in this country are built from softwood for very good reason. Geoffrey's assertion that we're putting conservation ahead of the materials used for building houses and shops is patently false.

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    8. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to David Bentley

      David, I was merely and clearly stating the position at the time. Yes, those times have passed.
      In economic terms, if even softwoods can't now compete with imports, I'd be looking for the reason why. The answer is probably (a) high cost of labour here, part caused by union pressure and (b) mismanagement of native resources.
      Otherwise, can you give me a reason why trees in situ and requiring only local transport cannot compete with trees grown abroad, with international freight added on?
      Is it like fruit orchards getting grubbed out?
      Or is it symptomatic of a deeper problem, like lack of certainty for long term planning?

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    9. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to David Bentley

      David,
      How can locking up resources be beneficial to supply?

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    10. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      You state two reasons why softwoods can't now compete with imports. (a) high cost of labour - this is possible, although I know the guys in the mills and they aren't exactly killing it financially. I think this is a broader issue in Australia. (b) mismanagement of native resources. This doesn't make any sense. We have very high quality and readily accessible plantation timber which can be accessed today where the cost of the tree is zero....but it is not being fully utilised, why is this? The management of native resources has nothing to do with competitiveness.

      One of the key reasons actually is that many of the mills have not invested adequately in their mills and they are therefore sub scale and inefficient. You can blame a particular New Zealander for this situation, although I won't mention him here.

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    11. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      As discussed above, we don't have a supply issue, particularly in respect of native Tasmanian hardwoods. Is there something you can point to which would suggest otherwise?

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    12. Mark Poynter

      Forester

      In reply to David Bentley

      David

      With all due respect you need to do some of your own research and stop relying on ENGO press releases as some of your comments about the Australian hardwood industry are just plain wrong.

      Chiefly this gem "We don't make houses from hardwood anymore, and the Tasmanian forests at issue here are predominantly hardwood and so cannot be used for saw timber, ...."

      So ... Tasmanian hardwood cannot be used for sawn timber eh? Gawd..... how do you think that Australian houses were built prior…

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    13. Mark Poynter

      Forester

      In reply to David Bentley

      David

      Just to correct you again:

      "Most of these plantations are now worth pretty much nothing as the price of hardwood chips is through the floor and you can barely give these trees away now."

      Well ....now that the $A dollar has fallen, these plantations are being harvested and exported to Asian markets, so you wrong again.

      "These parties campaigning against the lock up of land in did not buy the land, they did not plant the trees, there is no good economic rationale for cutting them…

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    14. Mark Poynter

      Forester

      In reply to David Bentley

      David

      Another mistake you've made:

      "...... we don't have the scale for a paper mill in this country and so hardwood wood chips are exported."

      How come then that Australian Paper at Maryvale in Victoria produces the Reflex Paper product line? They use a mixture of native forest and hardwood chips and have made paper for generations and continue to do so.

      Other domestic paper makers have departed the marketplace, but for what reasons I'm not sure.

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    15. Mark Poynter

      Forester

      In reply to Martin Male

      Neocons???? Gawd .... this is about common sense. The ideology is on the Green/Left side of the forestry debate I'm afraid.

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    16. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Mark Poynter

      That all depends on what is meant by common sense;) If removing the lungs of a planet to provide an unsustainable lifestyle is common sense, then yes, this is. If short profit at long term destruction is common sense, then this does make common sense.
      As I wrote previously common sense for many said the sun revolved around the earth and the earth was flat. Now with scientific understanding, we know much better and the common sense is now the opposite. Except for "intelligent design" believers and climate change deniers. Not sure common sense has merit at times;)

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    17. Mark Poynter

      Forester

      In reply to Martin Male

      Martin

      Who said anything about "removing the lungs of a planet"?

      As has been said ad infinitum, most of Australia's and Tasmania's forests are not used for timber production, and those that are harvested are immediately regenerated to grow into new forests.

      "If short profit at long term destruction is common sense, then this does make common sense'

      Its interesting that you cannot grasp the concept that society demands high quality hardwood timber - that is why logging occurs. Sure those who are contracted to perform this role hope to make a profit .... as does any business, but why shouldn't they be rewarded for what they do? But at the end of the day, they do not determine where thye log and how much they log, so neither they or their desire to make a profit drives the process.

      As I said earlier, logged forests regenerate and grow into new stands so there is no "long term destruction"

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    18. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Martin Male

      Martin,
      re 'lungs of the planet"
      This type of emotional term has no basis in science. It is the type of throw-away that attracts bad publicity for you.
      Anyhow, the IPCC has today admitted that in the past it has overestimated the effect of CO2 on climate by a factor of 2. The new value is generally held not to contain threats for the future. Personally, I tend towards scientific papers that show ECS as even less than that.
      So it seems like the lungs of the earth can now operate on half a lung???
      Don't these lungs do photosynthesis, which in the plant world has CO2 as an essential ingredient?

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    19. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Mark Poynter

      None of what you have written makes any sense how can these old growth forest even return to any semblance of what they were originally when they are clear felled and the whole ecosystem is destroyed? Hence my reference to ripping the lungs out. These trees are remove in vast number not selectively logged! They don't "immediately regenerated to grow into new forests".Thee is nowhere in the world that trees that are at least a couple of hundred years and even thousand years old grow" immediately regenerate"
      Anyway you believe what you believe.

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    20. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      The basic function of lungs to to transpire and remove unwanted gas and replenish it with the required ones, maintaining homeostasis. I would hold that trees are exactly that for the planet.
      I would like to see where "the IPCC has today admitted that in the past it has overestimated the effect of CO2 on climate by a factor of 2. " is actually being reported. I haven't heard of it today?

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  9. philip shedley

    retired forester

    Tom, your article fails to address the mainstream concerns of professional foresters or the opinion of thinking conservationists like Tim Flannery in his 2012 Quaerterly Essay - Australia's New Extinxtion Crisis, or those of Professor Mark Brown,s The Conversation article of 12 August 2012 - How to get sustainable forestry right, or Professor Peter Bridgewater's The Conversation article of 15 July 2013 - National parks need to embrace global change. And you you completely avoided all mention of…

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to philip shedley

      Philip,
      One way to get forestry right is to leave the management to professional foresters.
      Their task would run smoother in the absence of running interference from the green leaning, dewy eyed tender ignorants who don't have a clue.
      "Embrace global change". I can't find evidence for global change. Even the frequency and severity of droughts in Australia, alleged by Hennesey of CSIRO, was disputed by Stockwell who showed that the stat analysis was wrong.

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  10. Jane Kelly

    student

    Tom Baxter, I hope that you try to get articles like this, bringing peoples attention to what is really happening, published more widely, in newspapers and whatever else you can access. This one made me feel sick, but I believe more people need to know. Keep at it, for all our sakes :)

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    1. Mark Poynter

      Forester

      In reply to Jane Kelly

      Jane

      I think you would learn more if you looked at the admittedly few posts on this thread that discuss why there is opposition to this World Heritage extension.

      This is something that Tom Baxter has studiously avoided because it would undermine his proposition that these are all pristine forests, when in fact large parts are not, and that the process was politicised and corrupted so as to override a clause in the State legislation - the Tasmanian Forest Agreement Act 2013, which was designed to the state's boatbuilders and craftsmen access to small voulumes of special timber species from these areas.

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  11. Daniel Boon

    logged in via LinkedIn

    its a paradox .. a prime minister focused on good health is driving policy to wreck environmental good health ...

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Daniel Boon

      Daniel, why not wait to see the actual outcome instead of being hostile in advance.
      You have to understand that not many people in this country think of "environmental good health". They think people who talk this way are often part of minority pressure groups, to be avoided.

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    2. Phil Dolan

      Viticulturist

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      'not many people in this country think of "environmental good health".'

      Are you serious? Recycling is a massive industry. Littering is against the law. Planning permission has to be environmentally approved............

      Of course, there are bogans around who still chuck their Maccas wrappers out of the car window, but most people do not piss in the well.

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    3. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Phil Dolan

      Phil,
      People I know regard recycling as part of the waste management industry, unrelated to 'environment'.
      None of my friend has a mentality of pissing in the well. Most of the time, when an issue arises, they act to stop other people doing this.
      You are confusing common sense with something vaguely environmental. I notice this trend in teaching also and dislike it rather much.

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    4. Daniel Boon

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Hang on Geoffrey, I believe Tony Abbott has clearly demonstrated that negativity works ...

      If you had a neighbour whose dog bit you every time you went to be socialable (let sleeping dogs lie, over-look a dog act .. get my drift) ... to you think the dog is stupid for biting you or ...

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    5. Daniel Boon

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey .. I believe you just outed yourself "None of my friend has a mentality of pissing in the well" ...

      All readers could conclude you are confused about common sense and (therefore are) vague (about) environmental issues ... do some research about what many Australians feel about the environment. Example:

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-06/21-things-vote-compass-revealed-federal-election/4939224 ..... Check out Item 16.

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    6. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Daniel Boon

      no paradox when ideology and popularism are the basis of policy developments ;)

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    7. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Daniel Boon

      David,
      The ABC employees sampled in a recent survey responded that more than 50% of them vote Green. That seems to be in line with observation.
      Why not get more current, listen to the news headlines of midday today to hear how the IPCC is backing down on its past ('settled') science and admitting to a number of past mistakes?
      If you have been supporting the IPCC, then you have an element of pi.... in the well.
      I wish you people could see yourselves as others (the majority) see you.

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    8. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Martin Male

      Martin,
      You made that up.

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  12. Robert Gray

    logged in via Facebook

    This article gives the impression that all of the massive 170,000 ha extension is forest, pristine old growth tall eucalypt forest of outstanding universal forest, it is not. Yet this myth started with a video by the ACF at http://www.acfonline.org.au/news-media/blog/midnight-paris-tasmania-and-her-forests yet despite the following correction given by the ACF director under oath at a parliamentary hearing the video is still playing.

    Perhaps the first action is to independently verify just how…

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  13. Mark Poynter

    Forester

    I'm not sure that this article reflects well on The Conversation - the author is a "Corporate Governance lecturer" and has been a prominent environmental activist, including a Tasmanian Greens parliamentary candidate.

    As this article is drawn from his latter vocation rather than his academic career, it is therefore based on a personal political agenda rather than any research, so why was it allowed to be published on a site that is supposed to be conveying the latest findings from academia? Sadly this reinforces a view of The Conversation as being primarily a vehicle for academia to push personal agendas rather than scientific facts.

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    1. Daniel Boon

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Mark Poynter

      I think you're being a little precious Mark; the inactions of government (under direction of corporations) doesn't reflect the general feelings of most Australians ...

      Abbott is clearly a prominent environmental vandal ...

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    2. Tom Baxter

      Corporate governance lecturer at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Mark Poynter

      Wrong Mark in your para 2 claiming this is not based on any research. It's based on part of my PhD research and the request for this article came to me via the UTAS media office.
      In the Disclosure Statement at top of the article I disclosed my Tasmanian Greens candidacy at the Nelson election, so readers can take that into account.

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  14. Tom Baxter

    Corporate governance lecturer at University of Tasmania

    Mark Poynter is wrong claiming this piece is not based on any research. It's based on part of my PhD research and the request for the piece came to me via the UTAS media office.
    In the Disclosure Statement at top of the article I disclosed my Tasmanian Greens candidacy at the Nelson Upper House election, so readers can take that into account.

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  15. Gordon Bradbury

    logged in via Facebook

    The Trojan horse that the Liberals will use in this conflict is the so called "special timbers" industry. But in 2010 Forestry Tasmania declared it's special timbers activities to be a non-profit community service. From now on the Tasmanian taxpayer will directly foot the bill for getting these timbers to market, regardless of whether they come from World Heritage areas or other public land. What a joke! Australia's most valuable timbers given away so that the forestry wars can continue for a few more years. It will be interesting to see what the FSC will make of all this.

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  16. Andrew Putnam

    logged in via Facebook

    Once old growth forest is logged it is gone. Then how will they make a quick buck?

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