Contrary to how some would portray them, every forester, every harvester, every saw miller and every carpenter, cabinetmaker, boat builder and wood turner that I know loves the bush, and wants to see our forests managed carefully and properly, both now and for the generations of the future.
Analysts agree that the timber industry is in for a period of prolonged prosperity and increasing demand, both from strong domestic and from international markets. New technologies such as CLT, or Cross-Laminated Timber, are driving a worldwide revolution in the construction sector. In addition to being cheaper and allowing more rapid construction, timber ticks all the boxes on carbon storage and sustainability. Why two members of parliament and a noisy minority in Tasmania cannot support this industry is a mystery.
But wait, there is further mystery! A glance at the Greens' website under policies shows that it does support native forest harvesting and the special timbers industry. They did support both through the Tasmanian Forest Agreement process, and even proposed some new Special Timbers Zones, even if they couldn't identify exactly where they were. This was the policy document under which they contested the recent state election! So what is going on? Is this howler in their alternative budget just a thought bubble reflecting their internal divisions, meagre and skewed research capacity, and general desperation? Or is it a perceived need to respond to the more loopy and vocal of their restless supporters? Or is it both?
The Greens may have a history that emerged from environmental campaigns, but if they expect to remain a party in the Tasmanian parliament and to be regarded as having any amount of worth they will have to deliver statements that have far more credibility than the glib load of nonsense they have paraded before us as their alternative budget. It does not pass even the most basic fiscal analysis, let alone any test of social justice or cultural appropriateness, and it even fails on environmental grounds.
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A Tasmanian born and bred, George Harris has been a
self-employed designer (BA Environmental Design) and manufacturer of
furniture and timber products using Tasmania's unique special timbers
for the last 36 years.
He has also worked in local government.
An active member of the Labor party for 28 years, George hopes to turn
that party's policies around to once again be more supportive of the
Tasmanian timber industry. George's website Heartwood: timber, passion, politics
is well worth visiting, especially for photos of his beautiful woodwork
and information about the Cross Laminated Timber process.