State confirms fate of 21,000ha of land near Imbil
THE State Government has confirmed it will not support the closure of the Imbil State Forest and upgrade to a protected area tenure.
THE State Government has confirmed it will not support the closure of the Imbil State Forest.
Gympie MP Tony Perrett was informed of the decision this week.
A proposal was made some weeks ago that to restore subtropical lowland rainforest near Imbil about 21,000ha of land should be locked up.
"Local timber and forestry industry stakeholders, timber manufacturers, residents and businesses contacted me concerned that it would destroy their economic viability and our region's economy,” Mr Perrett said.
"The loss of that much forestry would have decimated the industry.
Environment Minister Leanne Enoch said yesterday her office received an unsolicited proposal and correspondence from a number of private citizens, and a conservation organisation, during August and my office requested the Department of Environment and Science assess the proposal.
"The Queensland Government recognises the 99-year forestry plantation licence held by Hancock Queensland Plantations Pty Ltd (HQPlantations) over the State Forest, as well as the State's commitment to timber supply arrangements administered by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries,” she said.
Any proposal to convert part or all of the State Forest plantation to protected area would need the agreement of HQ Plantations and would also need to consider the loss of plantation production in this location over the period of licence.
Recognising the existing licence, timber supply commitments and the jobs that are reliant on this local industry, the proposal is not being supported at this time.
"There are 803 jobs or 4.6 per cent of Gympie's total employment in the sector.
"This region has a low socio demographic profile and the unemployment level of 8.2 per cent is 2.1 per cent above the State average.
"There is no way Gympie could have withstood such a destructive proposal.
"It's a win for common sense and for Gympie.”