Whose forests?

Published: Friday 15 October 2004

What about aboriginals? (Credit: GREENPEACE)Australian Elections

A group of 30 anti-logging protesters disrupted a press conference of Labour leader Mark Latham in Tasmania, Australia asking him to reveal his forestry policy. Earlier, Latham had attacked Australian prime minister's John Howard's record on the environment. Howard had said he would like to see an end to the logging of old growth forests but not at the expense of timber workers' jobs or local communities. The Labour candidate argued that the prime minister had ignored the issue for the past eight years.

Meanwhile, Tasmanian aboriginals say they should be consulted in the pre-election debate. Glenn Shaw, of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council, says aborginal values have been ignored in the electioneering over Tasmania's old-growth forests. Protecting forests from logging sounds good in theory, but may make it harder for aboriginals to protect heritage values. "Turning forests into national park means another statutory body to deal with and whenever you deal with such bodies, everything becomes cumbersome," he argued.

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