Tasmania’s incoming premier Will Hodgman is demanding green groups accept the Liberal party has a mandate to reboot the state’s logging industry.
Mr Hodgman has used his first media conference since his election on Saturday to declare environmentalists will no longer hold Tasmania “to ransom”.
“I would hope that the environmental movement accepts the will of the people, accept that there is a new way of doing business when it comes to our forest industry, accept that the Liberal party and new government will not be held to ransom by a minority group,” the premier-elect told reporters in Hobart on Tuesday.
The new government has promised to rip up a peace deal between green groups and the timber industry which aimed to end 30 years of conflict.
Mr Hodgman will meet industry representatives on Thursday and is already under pressure from some of them to also speak with environment groups, and to maintain the deal.
The peace deal secured the endorsement of the struggling timber industry by environmentalists in return for the protection of around 500,000 hectares of forest.
The deal also committed millions of dollars to downsize the industry and create alternative jobs.
Mr Hodgman on Tuesday also appeared to have backed away from a comment during the election campaign that he would also be open to meeting environmentalists.
“If people aren’t going to resile form their positions of just rampant opposition to seeing the forest industry grow, but worse still threaten increased protest activity, to not reflect and respect the views of Tasmanians who voted on Saturday, then it’s not worth our time having that meeting,” he said.
Mainstream environment groups The Wilderness Society, the Australian Conservation Foundation and Environment Tasmania are all signatories to the agreement.
Tasmania’s first Liberal government in 16 years will be sworn in once polls are declared next week following Saturday’s crushing victory.
Mr Hodgman said the outcome should be a wake-up call for his opponents.
“The result for Labor and Greens was right up there when it comes to poor performance,” he said.
“It’s about time Labor and the Greens started listening to Tasmanians.
“They were sent a very clear message on the weekend – they are no longer the government and there is a new way of doing business in this state.”