A compromise has kept the Tasmanian forest peace process alive but it is still causing divisions among green groups, with state and federal Greens leaders among those seemingly at odds. An agreed moratorium on the logging of forests of high conservation value was due to be in place under a "principles agreement" between the timber industry and green groups.
However, aside from a ban on logging in 39 key forests, the broader moratorium never eventuated, with a reluctant state government initially refusing to direct the state-owned forestry company to implement it.
Green groups involved in the peace talks with industry had threatened to walk away from the historic process aimed at agreeing on a transition of the industry from native forests to plantations.
However, an eleventh hour compromise was brokered by federal government, which forced state Labor to accept a moratorium as a stepping stone to a deal, and persuaded green groups to lower their expectations. Under the compromise, the moratorium will be fully implemented in another six months, by September 11, but some logging in disputed forests will continue in the meantime, as needed to meet existing wood supply contracts.
There are concerns that Forestry Tasmania and the state government have used the hiatus to sign new wood contracts or renew old ones, thereby robbing conservationists of some of the 550,000ha or so of ancient and high conservation value forests sought for protection.
Even so, for now the compromise appears to be keeping the parties talking, maintaining hopes of a lasting solution to the bitter 30-year conflict.
However, the deal is causing friction within the conservation movement and the Greens, who had expected and demanded that the chainsaws would fall silent by Tuesday, as originally agreed.
Groups involved in the talks -- the Wilderness Society, Environment Tasmania and the Australian Conservation Foundation -- agreed to the Kelty compromise, but others outside the process continued to demand an immediate, full moratorium.
The Still Wild Still Threatened group and Huon Valley Environment Centre set up a vigil outside Hobart's state executive building, attacking the compromise as second rate and fake, while their foot soldiers disrupted logging operations in the forests.
Within the Greens, too, there are differences on the compromise. Australian leader Bob Brown has opposed the Kelty deal as "a breach of public trust" and as evidence "the industry is calling the shots".
However, Greens leader of Tasmania Nick McKim, who is is a cabinet minister, and is widely seen as a moderate, has not endorsed the breach-of-trust claim. McKim, in the state government under a power-sharing deal with Labor. He also does not share his federal leader's view that industry is calling the shots.