Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg’s answer to my question in Parliament today, about the serious risk posed to threatened species by the Tasmanian Government’s plans to greatly expand logging in the State, was disappointing because it contained no firm commitment to federal intervention.

The Minister and I did, however, discuss the matter afterwards at which time he was more forthcoming. The Minister acknowledged the particular circumstances surrounding the swift parrot and freshwater lobster in Tasmania, and did acknowledge that if the State Government fails to put in place effective safeguards to protect these and other threatened species then the Federal Government has the power to intervene.

The Minister also said that the swift parrot is a targeted species in the Federal Government’s Threatened Species Strategy, and that the Federal Government is finalising the national recovery plan for the giant freshwater crayfish. While these are welcome developments, only time will tell if Canberra is effective, and indeed genuine, in providing protection.

Of course I’m only interested in federal intervention in Tasmania’s forests because of the State Government’s irresponsible plan to open up another 356,000 hectares of protected forests for logging. Premier Will Hodgman needs to understand the inherent value of Tasmania’s natural environment and the importance of preserving it. Indeed the Liberal and Labor parties really must stop reinforcing failure in the forestry industry and instead get behind the clean, green and smart industries of the future. Yes that can include forestry, but only if it is on a sensible scale and genuinely sustainable.

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