Native logging allowed
The Queensland Government has allowed the harvesting of a native forest to continue, claiming it will save up to 500 jobs.
Thousands of hectares of native forest north of Noosa was due to become national park, but will remain open to the timber industry.
The Queensland Government has extended the current harvesting permits in the Wide Bay-Burnett region until 2026.
It will not say how much land would be accessed.
Current permits would have expired in 2024, threatening up to 500 workers, but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the state supports “sustainable” jobs in the region.
“These are good, decent jobs,” she said.
“Some of those hardwood plantations didn't work in the areas they were designated to, so where else is there the possibility that they can?
“If you want to have an internationally competitive industry, if you want to have sustainable jobs, you need to make sure you look at the whole industry as it stands.
“This announcement will help secure the employment of 500 Maryborough and Wide Bay locals working in the industry.
“It's also a win for hundreds more people and businesses who indirectly rely on the timber industry.”
The 20,000 hectares of state-owned land south of Noosa is now slated for conservation by 2024.
Ms Palaszczuk downplayed the concerns of environmental groups.
“I think the environmental groups should look at our record,” she said.
“We introduced nation-leading vegetation management laws in this state. We introduced the sustainable Ports Legislation in relation to the Great Barrier Reef. We banned plastic bags.
“We are going to introduce — very shortly — our land-restoration program, we've introduced Clean Co., we're looking at a renewable hydrogen industry.
“We've actually proven our environmental credentials.”
The National Parks Association of Queensland has labelled it a “snap decision”, and called for more details on how the balance between industry and environment will be kept.