Early morning in State Forest.
Early morning in State Forest. Skippaa Litzow

'Absurd' Imbil forestry plan would decimate industry

THE State Government should immediately reject the "absurd, outrageous and highly destructive proposal to close our pine plantations", Gympie MP and opposition spokesman for agricultural industry development and fisheries and forestry Tony Perrett said yesterday.

"No stonewalling, no weasel words, and no sidestepping," Mr Perrett said.

"It has to be clear and unequivocal and leave no wriggle room.


Gympie MP Tony Perrett
Gympie MP Tony Perrett Cassandra Glover

"Local industry and timber manufacturers are already contacting me raising their serious concerns that this will destroy their economic viability in this region.

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"The loss of that much forestry will decimate the industry.

"If the Government doesn't reject this outright we will know that this is clearly the first shot across the bow in an underhanded scheme to close up the Imbil State Forest."


The Imbil State Forest 1
The Imbil State Forest 1 Google Maps

Mr Perrett said the proposal was based on "deliberate fabrications", and was "misleading, manipulates the truth, and uses emotive language to deliberately portray the forestry industry and those with grazing rights in a bad light".

"It is yet another attack by ideological left wing green zealots on production in this State. They are green nutters.

"The State Government's entrenched commitment to the green agenda is driving it to demonise and undermine our timber industry.


Logging operations in State Forest
Logging operations in State Forest Jack Lawrie

"Forestry and the timber industry has been an integral part of this region's economic and employment base for more than 100 years when the forests were planted.

"There are 803 or 4.6 per cent of Gympie's total employment in the sector and the latest State Government statistical data says that the araucaria, hardwood and southern pine plantations have a direct value of $697 million.

"The financially incompetent Beattie and Bligh Labor Governments sold our plantations in an asset fire sale in 2010.

"It sold them for $600 million, which was estimated to be less than half their value ($1.3 billion) to the North American company Hancock Timber Resources Group with 99 year contractual obligations.

"Grazing leases have been on the sites for as long as the timber leases have existed.

"They are an integral part of the ongoing management to help reduce fuel loads and fire risks.

"Blaming the Newman government is deliberating misleading.

"They are changed landscapes.

"Without responsible management these places will be overrun by introduced invasive pests and weeds such as cat's claw creeper, lantana, groundsel bush, and giant rat's tail grass among many.

"The recent bushfires are a confronting example of the Labor Government's mismanagement of these areas.

"If the green movement really wants to look after the environment they should support forestry workers and graziers who are fighting to eradicate invasive weeds and pests which are getting out of control on state owned land.

"You never see these inner city greenies wanting to get in and assist landholders with the removal of these weeds and fighting fires.

"They love sitting in offices behind a computer and finding ways to close down the lifeblood of regional communities.

"They should lose a bit of sweat and knock skin off their knuckles by doing something constructive."

Gympie Times

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