Media Release: Morrison’s killing more trees than he’ll plant

'A pale shade’ of Bob Hawke’s billion trees’ - Brown.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s plan to plant 150 million trees to cut down for industry within three decades is a very pale shade of Bob Hawke’s 1989 promise to plant one billion trees to save ecosystems, former Greens leader and environmental campaigner Bob Brown said in Tasmania today.

PM Bob Hawke’s announcement of one billion trees in 1989, which led to the set-up of internationally applauded Landcare, showed an environmental understanding which is entirely missing from PM Morrison’s tree-planting announcement.

On 9 July, 1989, Hawke argued that: “Environmental problems today, more than ever, are global. In just over 200 years since the Industrial Revolution, human activity has significantly increased the earth's temperature, threatening the onset of the greenhouse effect. Huge areas of the world's tree cover have been destroyed and we are obliterating thousands of living species. We have polluted the world's oceans, seas and rivers, degraded the earth's soils, damaged the fragile Arctic and Antarctic environments.’

Brown says that “Liberal Senator Duniam’s admission on ABC radio this morning that former Forestry Minister Eric Abetz’ 2006 managed investment schemes to promote plantation forestry ‘had terrible outcomes’ underscores what a debacle the continued diversion of taxpayers’ funds into private enterprise forestry has been for both major parties. While thousands of hectares of the plantations failed and have been bulldozed in recent years, logging provides less than one percent of Tasmania’s jobs. The Liberals are tied into the logging corporations against the public interest. Far from ‘capitalism can do’ is a clear case of capitalism failing and ongoing government subsidies intervention being a big loser for the average taxpayer.”

“If the last lot of managed Investment Scheme plantations failed because they were planted in the wrong place without adequate rainfall and subject to weeds and invasive species, why will this lot be any different?”

“Three tree-killer questions for the Prime Minister to answer while he is in Tasmania:

1. Why did his Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, on 6 February, reject mining company MMG’s offer to protect large trees in the Tarkine rainforest where it plans a toxic waste dump for its Rosebery mine. Ms Ley told the company not to spare the big trees. Scientists say the forest giants are likely to provide critical nesting sites for the Tasmanian masked owl which Ley lists as threatened with extinction.

2. With the United Nations calling for the protection of native forests as a key action to address to global warming and biodiversity loss, why does the Prime Minister subsidise the logging of these very rich carbon stores throughout eastern Australia and in Tasmania and now subsidise plantation forestry?

3. If so much public money is needed for trees to be cut down in a few decades to meet the current ‘shortage', how come wharves at Burnie, Bell Bay, Hobart and elsewhere are stacked with timber for export?”

Table showing employment in Native Forest industry vs Plantations


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  • Adam Burling
    published this page in Media Releases 2022-02-21 11:00:19 +1100