15 August, 2012

Interim forest deal revealed


Nick Clark
The Mercury, August 15, 2012

AN interim forest peace deal has been announced his afternoon -- but there is still no agreement on wood supply or forest reserves.

Industry and environmental groups have been negotiating for two years and have twice extended the talks beyond their initial deadlines.

The deal is not a final agreement, which the signatories say should be delivered after about another four weeks.

The agreement comes after Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke spent the weekend in Tasmania trying to facilitate a deal.

The Inter-governmental Agreement on Forestry is aimed at ending the dispute that has dominated debate for 30 years.

It is understood industry wants stronger guarantees from environmental groups that the industry would not be undermined in overseas markets in the future by groups other than signatories.

Such an agreement would bind conservationist groups outside the discussions to not actively undermine the agreement.

It would include a pledge that conservationists would not oppose Forest Stewardship Council certification.

It is understood it would also cover behaviour such as a campaign by Markets for Change earlier this year which discredited products from Ta Ann that was bound for the basketball courts at the London Olympics.

Industry wants 155,000 cubic metres of saw log and 265,000 cubic metres of peeler billets.

Environmental groups have targeted up to 572,000 ha of forest for reserve.

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