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Protecting Forest Carbon begins at Home, Mr Hunt


Claims by Environment Minister Greg Hunt that he is reducing carbon emissions by protecting forests are a bad joke, according to forest campaigner, Harriett Swift, convener of the Chipstop campaign against woodchipping.

“In fact, his Government is forcing taxpayers to subsidise native forest logging, which is one of the most highly polluting industries in the country,” she said.

Ms Swift has accused the federal Minister of “bragging” in a radio interview[1] when he said: "just last week we provided funding[2] to reduce deforestation in our region."

“He is a Minister in a Government which subsidises and props up a native forest logging industry which pours millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.”

“Even in the south east, native forest logging to supply the South East Fibre Exports chipmill at Eden generates as much as 18 million tonnes[3] of CO2 a year,” she said.

“Without Commonwealth and State Government subsidies and policy concessions, that industry would not exist,” Ms Swift said.

She said that the woodchipping industry receives subsidies for such things as fuel, grants for industry promotion, research and development, industry restructuring and even an industry lobby group shop front.

“Such costs as damage to waterways caused by erosion and siltation, damage to roads and the loss of biodiversity/ environmental damage, including the death, injury and suffering of forest mammals, birds and reptiles are difficult to quantify, but very real.”

“There is also a greater bushfire risk[4] due to drier, denser, even aged, even height regrowth forest.

“The industry lobby group has even received funding for overseas business trips and $10,000 for a dinner,” Ms Swift said.

“Among the biggest financial subsidies of all are the native forest logging losses by State logging agencies in NSW, Victoria, WA and Tasmania which run at around $16M a year for the NSW alone.”

“NSW Forestry Corporation is also exempt from local government rates for production forests which saves it about $15M a year.”

“With a record like this, it is the height of hypocrisy for Mr Hunt to make these claims,” Ms Swift said.


17 November 2014









[2] He was referring to a $6M contribution from Australia to an Asia-Pacific rainforest recovery plan[2] to reduce rainforest loss.