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Senate endorses motion to stop Queensland logging move

LABOR Senators have supported a Greens motion to call on Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to intervene to stop the opening of previous closed native forests in Queensland to the logging industry.

The motion comes days after it was revealed Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh had approved the logging of 1.2 million hectares of native forests previously off limits to the timber industry.

Posed by Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters, the motion called on Mr Burke to renew a 2011 pledge to protect all national parks under federal environment laws from logging, grazing, mining and clearing.

The Senate endorsed the motion without a division, indicating at least some Labor Senators were happy to have the motion put.

Senator Waters said she was worried national parks around the country were at risk from conservative state governments, but particularly in Queensland.

"There was a reason the timber industry, state government and environmental groups agreed to protect these native forests in 1999," she said.

"That reason remains just as important today, but the Newman Government has moved against that commitment to open the forests up to logging."

Her comments come after Timber Queensland chief executive Rod McInnes said only 30,000ha of the 1.2 million hectares of forest available, would be logged this year.

He said the industry was also bound by international audit standards, and would be at pains to ensure no environmentally sensitive areas would be logged.



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