Swift parrot update February 2010

Thank you to all the TCT members who responded to our request in the last newsletter to write to Minister David Llewellyn calling for protection of swift parrot habitat. In reply to the TCT’s letter, and in our recent meeting, the minister has made it clear he believes the interests of Forestry Tasmania and loggers on private land come before the swift parrot.

The minister does not want to instruct Forestry Tasmania to protect known habitat in State Forest or to implement moratoria on logging of potential habitat until new rules for habitat protection are agreed to. Unless we can get the minister to stand up to Forestry Tasmania, a great deal of habitat will be destroyed over the next year before the new rules come into force. Areas are being logged now which in another 12 months would not be approved for logging. The minister is also giving Forestry Tasmania more time to pressure the Forestry Practices Authority and DPIPWE to water-down the proposed new rules.

In relation to habitat on private land, the minister complains that the TCT is focusing too much on the 12 percent of habitat that is found on State Forest (the minister’s figure), but has failed to come up with any solutions to protect the 47 percent of habitat on private land. We have lobbied the minister and the Treasurer to fund an incentive program (not compensation for the full value of the forest) to offer private landowners an alternative to logging swift parrot habitat. The minister cannot order private landowners not to log but he does have the power to do this with Forestry Tasmania – although he is reluctant to even acknowledge it.

We must continue to lobby Minister Llewellyn to protect swift parrot habitat now.