Prime Minister’s speech to loggers “bizarre” and “empty”
The Prime Minister’s speech to the logging industry this week, in which he described loggers as the “ultimate conservationists” has been dismissed as “bizarre” and “empty” by conservationists.
Convener of the Chipstop Campaign, Harriett Swift said that at a time when the national Government should be looking at protecting native forests as an affordable way of combating climate change, Mr Abbott is declaring war on them.
“If I had been a logger in the audience I would have felt insulted by the poor quality of his speech,” Ms Swift said.
“From my own experience I know that loggers are much more hard headed than he gives them credit for,” she said.
“However, while the speech was little more than florid rhetoric, it did provide some insights into why the logging industry has been treated as a special case,” she said.
Mr Abbott told guests at the industry dinner in Canberra:
“But you’re not just any other industry. You are an industry which has been officially frowned upon for too long.”
He went on:
“… as far as this Prime Minister is concerned, as far as the Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, is concerned, as far as the very hard-working Parliamentary Secretary for Forestry, Senator Richard Colbeck, is concerned, you aren’t just any industry, you are a great industry and a great sector. We believe in you.”
“This explains why, as other industries are being told to sink or swim, the same hard line ‘no-subsidy’ ideology is not being applied to loggers,” Ms Swift said.
“The fruit processing, motor vehicle, manufacturing and airlines industries are all being told at the moment that they must survive without any Government assistance.”
“At the same time, Mr Abbott applies different standards to an industry that is struggling to survive and is a growing burden on NSW taxpayers and Nippon Paper shareholders and continues to cause untold destruction to Australia’s native forest forests,” Ms Swift said.
5 March 2014
Link to Tony Abbott's speech https://www.pm.gov.au/media/2014-03-04/address-2014-forestworks-dinner-canberra
Information on subsidies to the logging industry: http://www.chipstop.savetheforests.org.au/subsidies.htm