Act now on forest truce: PM

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 01 Mei 2013 | 19.55

TASMANIAN conservationists and loggers who signed a historic peace agreement must now deliver its jobs and environmental objectives, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says.

The Tasmanian parliament last night passed legislation formalising the agreement between the opposing groups, after green groups and the forestry industry backed amendments raised by the state's Upper House.

Passage of the laws will now unlock more than $300 million in federal assistance to help the logging industry restructure, while more than 500,000ha of forests will eventually be protected.

Visiting Wynyard in Tasmania North-West today, Ms Gillard said the peace deal was "a new day, a new opportunity" that had to be seized by conservationists and loggers.

"The obligation is now on everyone to seize the prospect that this peace gives and to get on with creating jobs in Tasmania as well securing the conservation outcomes that come out of this agreement," she told reporters.

"The obligation is on the signatories that first came together, the parties who started this process, to do everything they can to use their abilities to silence those who haven't gone with the mainstream consensus."

Signatories to the deal include the Wilderness Society, the Australian Conservation Foundation, Environment Tasmania, and the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania.

Australian Greens leader Christine Milne is critical of the agreement, despite the majority of her Tasmanian Greens colleagues and environmentalists giving it their support.

She says it's "fantasy" to believe that anything more than the deal's 123,000ha first tranche of forests will ever be protected.

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