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Malaysian timber company panicked into TAS campaign

31 January, 2012

Greens senator Christine Milne says a Malaysian timber company has been panicked into starting a new publicity campaign in Tasmania.

Timber processor Ta Ann has produced a brochure to counter what it says is misinformation from conservationists about how it sources wood in the state.
The company says it uses wood from regrowth forests and pumps $45 million annually into the Tasmanian economy.
But Senator Milne says Ta Ann's claim that its products are environmentally friendly is wrong, and its customers are beginning to realise it.
"Ta Ann is clearly panicking about the fact that they are being exposed," Senator Milne told reporters on Monday.
"No amount of public relations campaign from Ta Ann can distract from the fact that they are the main driver of the logging of wilderness forests in Tasmania.
"They can try and tell their customers that they are selling a product (called) eco-ply, but the whole tracking of that product from Tasmania shows it comes straight out of wilderness forest."
Ta Ann has already had a contract for the floor of a London Olympics basketball court suspended, and Senator Milne said more customers were voicing their concerns.
"We have Japanese customers in Tasmania today because they're concerned that Ta Ann is telling them one thing and the conservation movement's telling them another," she said.
"Those Japanese customers just have to go and have a look in the southern forests and they will see magnificent forests that have never been logged before that Ta Ann is driving the loggers straight into."
The company said it had launched the brochure because the community had demanded reliable information after criticism by environmentalists in the wake of the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) on forestry in Tasmania.
"The brochure shows that TAT (Ta Ann Tasmania) is not a logging company as claimed, but Forestry Tasmania delivers AFS (Australian Forestry Standard) certified resource from sustainably managed forest for peeling in accordance with a long-term contracts," operations manager Paul Woolley said in a statement.
Senator Milne said Ta Ann was using wood from Tasmania's forests because it was cheaper than wood in Asia.
She said the company was the reason logging continued within 430,000 hectares given interim protection by the IGA.
"What Tasmania is now being asked to do is to keep on destroying wilderness and high conservation value forests so that Ta Ann can source the cheapest wood it can possibly get at a tiny return to Tasmania," she said.
The company's announcement attracted around 20 anti-logging protesters to its office in Hobart.
Source: AAP NewsWire

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