ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), January 16, 2012
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has urged environmentalists to stick with Tasmania's forest peace deal, despite their concerns about a new conservation agreement.
The state and federal governments last week gave Forestry Tasmania approval to continue logging 2,000 hectares of the 430,000 hectares of native forest earmarked for protection.
The Government insists it is necessary for industry to meet existing contracts, but the Greens say it is a breach of the original peace deal.
On a visit to the state, Ms Gillard said it was just an interim agreement until the conservation value of the forest was properly verified.
"The process has been agreed to, Jonathan West was the person agreed to, so I do expect people who have been in that process every step of the way to hold to the process that they agreed to," she said.
"When you read the agreement we always said that we would be guaranteeing wood supply for current contracts and we've done that.
"As a result of the interim conservation agreement Minister Tony Burke signed, 99.5 per cent of the nominated area for interim protection is being protected."
The Greens are disappointed that while in the state, Ms Gillard did not take up an invitation to visit disputed areas.
One protester remains in a 60-metre-high tree-sit.
Greens Leader Bob Brown says members of Still Wild Still Threatened asked Ms Gillard to see the forest first hand.
"She hasn't taken up the invitation from Miranda Gibson, who's sitting 60 metres up in a tree below Mount Mueller in the World Heritage Area," he said.
"[Ms Gibson] has been there for four weeks in a coupe the Prime Minister says would be protected."