Forestry Minister Murray Watt’s unsustainable chicanery

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The Albanese government’s Minister for Forests, Murray Watt, is using verbal chicanery to falsely imply that the logging of native forests is sustainable when it is ecologically unsustainable, environmentalist Bob Brown said today.

“The minister is promoting the lie that native forest logging is sustainable at the 30th United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission in Sydney, addressing the theme of “Sustainable Forests for a Sustainable Future.” The conference is being hosted by the Australian Forest Products Association.

The term ‘ecologically sustainable’ has been corrupted by the logging industry by dropping the adverb, and the minister is carefully endorsing that abuse of language to promote the obvious deception that logging of native forests, rather than being a prime cause of wildlife habitat loss, causes no harm to koalas, Greater Gliders or Swift Parrots.

Saying ‘forestry is sustainable’ in native forests is like saying ‘Fresh is Alpine’ in the bad old days of tobacco advertising. In both cases, a deadly outcome is being masked by verbal chicanery. In a world in which deforestation is a prime cause of the sixth age of extinction and logging of tropical forests has driven creatures like the critically-endangered orangutan and Javan rhinoceros and Sumatran tiger to the brink of extinction, Minister Watt blithely overlooked the destruction by thrilling the conference with his assurance that ‘the Asia-Pacific has the fastest growing demand for sustainable wood products globally’ although native forest logging is ecologically unsustainable. He would have been more honest had he exchanged the word ‘sustainable’ with ‘unsustainable’, Brown said.

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