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Tasmanian forests « Previous | |Next »
September 6, 2004

What has continually suprised me is the failure of the two main parties to develop good policies to protect old growth forests in Tasmania. Both the ALP and the Coalition shy away from this, even though these policies would help their chances in the inner city electorates of our major cities. Both parties need to establish their environmental creditionals.

There were mutterings from both sides about conserving Tasmania's forests carried by the wind a few days ago; but these were little more than mutterings about possible future policies. They are only beginning to talk the talk.

The ALP does have a state of principles about what constitutes a sustainable environment. However, the ALP's environment policy has nothing to say about conserving old growth native forests.

They see it as falling under resources and jobs. These resource policies are driven by State ALP Governments, since the federal ALP does not have a greened up resources policy. Presumably the economy and wealth creation comes first, then the environment bit is tacked on by the neo-liberal technocrats to appease the left wing base of the party.

The Coalition has no specific election policies on conserving Tasmania's old growth forests. It's party platform does not mention old growth forests, preferring to talk about balancing our immediate economic needs with a need to conserve and nurture our environment and resources for future generations.

Balance means that a good economy is a prerequisite to have good environmental policies because you can't run a good environmenal policy if you don't have the money to pay for it.

So says Ian Campbell, the new Environment Minister in the Australian Financial Review (subscription, 2 09 04, p. 60). He says that environmental change will be driven by the market, not a comand and control approach. The minister adds that good economic outcomes willl lead to even better environmental outcomes.

That is not the case with Gunns in Tasmania. The good economic outcomes for Gunns and Tasmania are premised on bad environmental outcomes. And the Minister knows that.

Both major parties are unwilling to gain the electoral advantage over the other in the marginal inner city seats by saving Tasmanian forests. Strange isn't it?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:16 PM | | Comments (0)
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