The revelation today that this year’s budget contains public money for research into generating electricity by burning native forest woodchips is another example of the State Government flailing around for answers in the wake of the repeal of the Tasmanian Forests Agreement, and another waste of taxpayer dollars, the Wilderness Society said.

Biomass from Tasmanian native forests has been on the agenda in Tasmania for 15 years and has already attracted public subsidy for infrastructure, research and development.

“The Hodgman Government has clearly run out of ideas to deliver on its failed promise to grow the timber industry. A desperate fire sale of plantation assets to keep Forestry Tasmania afloat for another 12 months, the looming failure to achieve FSC certification, and now a return to the bottom-of-the barrel idea of throwing money at burning woodchips for power show that Premier Hodgman and Minister Harriss are failures on forestry policy,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society. 

“The Government killed off the Tasmanian Forest Agreement and has pledged to open up agreed reserves for logging. The TFA was actively seeking community supported solutions for forest products, and that is where the solutions lie.

“Native forest-fed power can’t be credibly considered a sustainable solution and included as renewable in competition with wind and solar energy, particularly if the logging fails FSC certification as the international test of sustainability“,

“Until important forests are protected and guaranteed off limits to industry, controversy over native forest logging in the community and market place will continue. Government must realise that on tearing up the TFA and ensuring the forests Tasmanians care about remain unprotected and open to logging, it has created a disincentive to support solutions for the industry’s structural problems and the industry itself.