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Tasmaniain Justice Commission enters forest debate

The inherent hostility and divisive nature of Tasmania's forestry debate makes most Tasmanians reluctant to have their say on the issue, according to Tasmania's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.

The Commission yesterday released a discussion paper on the debate, saying the issue is characterised by a hostility which has "effectively silenced many Tasmanians" who are not in either the pro-logging or pro-conservation camps.

Commission chairman told The Mercury that the divisive nature of the debate has left people angry and frustrated.

"It is clear that the hostility inherent in the debate has obscured any possibility for harmony and conciliation," he said. "In addition, we found it difficult to get objective, independent, clear responses to many of our questions and this only serves to exacerbate the misunderstandings and conflict."

Mr Rutledge said the debate should not be seen as simply a choice between timber workers' jobs and old-growth forests.

"It is possible to have sustainable employment and appropriate conservation and protection of our wilderness," he said. "The nature of the debate, with its emotional use of trees or the plight of workers to score points, means this possibility is often forgotten, ignored or dismissed."

Forest fury `rules out full debate' (The Mercury 3/6/04)

Tasmanian Catholic Justice and Peace Commission
Forestry Tasmania
Wilderness Society - Tasmania
Thousands rally to protect Tasmanian forests (Sydney Morning Herald 13/3/04)

4 Jun 2004