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Forest Stewardship Certification

26 August 2016

Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for RESOURCES, Mr BARNETT

[10.58 a.m.]
Yesterday you failed to state your Government's commitment to Forestry Tasmania achieving Forest Stewardship Council certification. Despite your plan to ramp up native forest logging for forest furnaces, is your Government committed to FSC certification? If so, can you name a single step you as Minister are taking to help FT secure FSC certification?


ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I am delighted to receive a question from a member for the Greens about forestry. The only disappointment is that it is not one that supports the forest sector, the forest industry, the forest workers and their families 

I am nevertheless very pleased to respond and make some observations about the importance of Forest Stewardship Council certification. My predecessor in here made very clear that the this Government supports Forestry Tasmania in that process. I have ongoing discussions with Forestry Tasmania on a whole range of issues including the importance of moving forward with respect to FSC certification. An audit report made in March 2016 found FT was already in conformance with greater than 90 percent -

Ms O'Connor - That is not true.

Madam SPEAKER - Order. Members opposite will cease their interjections.

Mr BARNETT - That is a debatable point and I am happy to respond to that in due course. This Government supports the forest sector. There is no better friend to the forest industry than the majority Hodgman Liberal Government. The Labor-Greens coalition saw its demise, with the loss of two out of three jobs. I have made clear in this place that that will occur again the future if the Greens get their way to destroy the native sector.

In terms of the process going forward, Forestry Tasmania has made it clear they are achieving FSC certification. It is not easy and nor should it be, but Forestry Tasmania and the Government are committed to the journey and believes this required effort will be worth it in due course. In addition to meeting increasing market demands for this certification, Forestry Tasmania is determined to use this opportunity to genuinely improve its operations, and that is an ongoing process. 

I am very pleased to be working with Forestry Tasmania on a whole range of issues on behalf of the Government. This is but one of many challenging issues we have in the weeks, months and years ahead. One thing this House can be very clear about is that we are a great friend of the forest sector and we know those on the other side wish to see its demise.