57% of Tasmanians Object to Premier Rockcliff’s Wood Bank Plan

Whilst both major parties support native forest harvesting, a minority government could see influential crossbenchers push for a forest ban.

Wed 20 Mar 24


Over 57% of Tasmanians oppose Premier Rockcliff’s “Wood Bank” proposal – which would see logging expanded into 40,000 hectares of native forests protected under the 2012 Forest Peace Deal.

That is according to the centre-left think tank, Australia Institute, which published new research around native forestry this morning ahead of Saturday’s poll.

Conducted on the weekend of March 4 and 5, polling company uComms surveyed 1,174 Tasmanians using self-computed automated voice and SMS polling methodologies.

The question, the third in the survey, asked:

In 2012, native forests in the Blue Tier, takayna/ Tarkine and Ben Lomond were protected as part of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, a “peace deal” between the logging industry and conservation groups.

The Liberal Government has announced that if it is re-elected, it will make 40,000 hectares of native forest available for logging.

To what extent do you support or oppose logging these native forests?

The findings found that support for opposing logging was strongest among respondents in the 35-65 groups, with support for the native forestry extension being surprisingly stronger among 18-34-year-olds than among 35-50-year-olds.

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It is supported by a new report published by the institute, “Jobs and employment – Changing employment in Tasmanian towns, which provides three leading examples of Tasmanian regional communities—Geeveston, Triabunna, and Derby—that have “diversified away from native forestry.”

Other questions included the Tasmanian Integrity Commission, inshore salmon farming, rental controls, and political donations from gambling groups – with households selected randomly across the state, split 79/21 between mobile phones and landlines.

Ahead of Saturday, 57 candidates have already signed the Forest Pledge, including key independents and minor parties, which pledges to reverse the policies of the incumbent Liberal State Government and Labor Opposition should the election return a minority government.

“Our research shows that 58% of Tasmanian voters are anticipating a minority government, and there is a significant community concern (57%) about the Liberal Party’s plan to open 40,000 hectares of native forestry to logging,” according to Venessa Bleyer, Australia Institute’s spokesperson on native forestry.

Before adding that, the policy was strongest among Liberal voters (70%), with Labor (73%), the Greens (96%), and the Jackie Lambie Network (77%) opposing it.

Tasmanian Labor, which trails narrowly in the polls, is taking a moderate-right wing policy on native forestry to the March 23, 2024 poll. (Photo Credit: Tasmanian Labor Party)
Tasmanian Labor, which trails narrowly in the polls, is taking a moderate-right wing policy on native forestry to the March 23, 2024 poll. (Photo Credit: Tasmanian Labor Party)

Earlier this month, the Tasmanian Labor Party, the major opposition party, followed Premier Rockliff in pledging to extend all wood supply agreements from 2027 to 2040. 

The pledge is the strongest made by a Labor Party leader in favour of the industry and comes as the Party (which holds the Federal Government and Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia) remains bitterly divided over the native forest question.

“Labor has listened to the timber industry and worked very closely with them over the past few years, and this policy reflects our dedication to work together to secure a sustainable future for the industry,” Tasmanian Labor Leader Rebecca White told reporters.

Before adding that “the timber industry is a vital part of the Tasmanian economy and crucial to regional Tasmania” and that “a Labor Government that (Opposition Leader, White) leads will put Tasmanian timber workers and companies first, not mainland companies.”

However, according to Ms Bleyer, the genuine prospect of a minority government could play a vital role in the future of native forestry across the state. 

“With fifty-seven candidates signing the Forest Pledge, there is a real possibility that the next parliament will feature a crossbench committed to ending native forest logging and that voters will be expecting action.”

The list of the signatories includes:

  • Alexander, Lara (IND)
  • Ball, Lauren (GRN)
  • Barnett, Carol (GRN)
  • Davenport, Jack (IND)
  • Davis, Ivan (AJP)
  • Fittler, Jack (GRN)
  • Hall, Tom (GRN)
  • Hendry, Calum (GRN)
  • Layton-Bennett, Anne (GRN)
  • Rosol, Cecily (GRN)
  • Walker, Tim (IND)
  • Briggs, Darren (GRN)
  • Garland, Craig (IND)
  • Kersey, Sarah (GRN)
  • King, Julia (AJP)
  • Lovell, Leeya (GRN)
  • McLoughlin, Michael (GRN)
  • Morrow, Erin (GRN)
  • Ward, Susanne (GRN)
  • Wilden, Petra (GRN)
  • Campbell, Sam (LN)
  • Bayley, Vica (GRM)
  • Burnet, Helen (GRN)
  • Davies, Casey (AJP)
  • Formby, Frank (LN)
  • Hickey, Sue (IND)
  • Hoare, Trenton (GRN)
  • Johnston, Kristie (IND)
  • Jones, Peter (GRN)
  • Lohberger, Ben (IND)
  • Nunn, David (LN)
  • Shelley, Janet (GRN)
  • Vogel, Stefan (IND)
  • Volf, Nathan (GRN)
  • Zalotockyj, James (GRN)
  • Zollner, Ranae (LN)
  • Cambers-Smith, Jenny (GRN)
  • Campbell, Christine (GRN)
  • Cordover, Gideon (GRN)
  • Cordover, Tamar (IND)
  • Darko, Jade (GRM)
  • Delaney, Martine (LN)
  • Ellison, Bob (IND)
  • Fitzgerald, Owen (GRN)
  • Glade-Wright, Clare (IND)
  • Mrosek, Lukas (GRN)
  • Thomas-Wurth, Jehni (AJP)
  • Woodruff, Rosalie (GRN)
  • Allan, Alistair (GRN)
  • Badger, Tabatha (GRN)
  • Brown, Craig (GRN)
  • Branch-Allen, Jenny (IND)
  • Gralton, Anna Megan (AJP)
  • Houghton, Mitch (GRN)
  • Miller, Glenn (GRN)
  • Rubenach-Quinn, Hannah (GRN)
  • Whisson, Gary (GRN)
Declined to sign
  • Liberal Party of Tasmania
  • Jacqui Lambie Network
  • Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party of Tasmania
No response
  • Australian Labor Party (Tasmanian Branch)


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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