31 March, 2007

LETTER: A necessary step

Dr Mark Zirnsak, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia
Letter, The Age, 31/3/07

It has been disappointing to hear the Howard-bashing in response to the Prime Minister's announcement of $200 million to be spent on tackling illegal and unsustainable logging in our region.

According to the International Tropical Timber Organisation, of 206.7 million hectares of permanent forest estate in the Asia Pacific region in 2005, only 19.5 million hectares were being sustainably managed. Our partner churches in places such as the Philippines and Indonesia identify illegal logging as a serious issue.

At the same time, we agree that the Australian Government should restrict timber and wood product imports to Australia to those that are certified, where feasible. Also, the necessary and welcome action on unsustainable logging in the region does not relieve the Government of the need to take serious action in reducing Australia's contribution to dangerous climate change. Finally, we share concerns about regulation of logging in some places in Australia, especially Tasmania. However, this is a state government as much as a federal government issue.

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