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Pressure for national ban on logging native forests

Crossbench MPs have urged the government to implement a national ban on native forest logging, following Victoria's move to end the practice.

Crossbench MPs have urged the federal government to implement a national ban on native forest logging.


The calls follow the Victorian government's decision to phase out and close the industry by 2024, six years earlier than intended.


In an open letter to Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, 15 crossbench MPs and senators said further steps needed to be taken to protect forests and wildlife across the country.


"Instead of tinkering around the edges, we urge the federal government to be brave: now is the chance to do the right thing by ending native forest logging nationally," the letter said.


Independent MP Monique Ryan, one of the letter's signatories, said stopping native forest logging would protect the environment and the country's bottom line.


"The benefits of ending native forest logging are huge, not just to our climate, but also to our economy," she told reporters.


"If we ended native forest logging in this country, we would save $8.4 billion in carbon benefits by 2050."


Ms Ryan said species under threat such as koalas and possums would be better protected.


Independent ACT senator David Pocock said a continuation of native logging would make it difficult for the government to achieve its environment and climate change targets.

"These forests are worth far more standing than they are cut down and turned into those products," he said.


"With leadership now, we can ensure that communities that have relied on those forests for generations can continue to do that into the future in a new economy."


But Victorian Nationals MP Darren Chester, who has been critical of the state government's decision to end logging, said the industry was sustainable.


He said a national ban would lead to timber being imported from countries with fewer environmental protections in place.


"The trees that have been harvested right now in the native hardwood timber industry in Victoria is regeneration timber that was harvested 60 or 70 years ago," he said.


"From the very comfortable, leafy suburbs (the crossbench MPs) represent, their constituents are the ones who want hardwood timber floors, who want feature floors right throughout their properties, they want staircases."


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