You are here

FSC Certification Pipe Dream

27 October 2016

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

[10.29 a.m.]
Forestry Tasmania is almost two years behind schedule on achieving forest 
stewardship certification, a goal that appears to be disappearing out of 
reach for FT under your policy. Can you please tell the House whether FT 
has provided any advice on the impact of your cynical, political move to 
open up the moratorium forests to logging? Have the FSC auditors been 
informed of the plan to log forests set aside for reserves? If so, what 
is the auditors' response? If not, when will they be informed and how 
will you explain to the auditors how your plan to log high-conservation-
value forests and spark civil unrest is compatible with forest stewardship 
certification?

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. To tackle the last 
question first with respect to civil unrest, the Greens are the only party 
talking about civil unrest. They want us to do nothing, which would force 
the loss of some 700 jobs in rural and regional Tasmania but the Greens 
policy is a total annihilation of the native forest sector around Tasmania
. That would lose thousands of jobs. Thousands of Tasmanians would lose 
their jobs in rural and regional Tasmania under a Greens policy to halt 
native forest harvesting in Tasmania. We know their views. The record of 
the previous Labor government is very clear with more than 4000 jobs lost 
in this sector.

As I have indicated already in the answer to the member for Lyons, we 
support Forestry Tasmania's application for forest stewardship council 
certification. We have ongoing discussions and consultation with Forestry 
Tasmania, together with my shareholder minister and Treasurer. We are 
very thankful for those discussions because they give us good advice. We 
receive that advice and act on it following consultation with key 
stakeholders and others in the community.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. I apologise to you for 
raising this. The question is very simple: Has FT been in touch with the 
auditors to let them know what the minister has done?

Madam SPEAKER - I understand the point of order but it is also not to be 
used as an opportunity to re-ask a question. I cannot put words into a 
minister's mouth; that is not my role. All I can do is urge ministers to 
utilise the time they have available to attempt to answer the question or 
questions.

Ms O'CONNOR - Briefly on the point of order, Madam Speaker, the question 
was written very deliberately to be simply about FSC and FT. I have done 
that on the basis of your previous ruling, so I ask the minister to 
address that question.

Madam SPEAKER - I am explaining to the House that, short of my putting 
words into the mouth of a minister, there is nothing I can do other than 
ask a minister to direct his or her mind to the question or questions 
asked.

Mr BARNETT - The member is attempting to rewrite her question. She talked 
about civil unrest and she has not admitted it. I wanted to address that 
part of the question. 

The Greens are embarrassed by the Tasmanian Wilderness Society survey 
polling that has just been released, with 40.6 per cent of those polls 
saying the Tasmanian Liberal Government has a clear plan for the problems 
facing the Tasmanian forest industry. That plan was only released 
yesterday. They had only received part of the plan when the polling was 
done, so they are embarrassed as a result of that poll. 

The only people who will be pushing for civil unrest will be the Greens. 
I ask them to cease those objectives. Question 3: 61.2 per cent in that 
poll want resource security. They want job security. They do not want 
the taxpayer to pay. The Wilderness Society's own poll is supporting the 
Government's objectives, making it very clear that 60 per cent - two out 
of three Tasmanians - support our objectives to get a good result in 
resource security, to secure jobs and stop sending millions of dollars 
into Forestry Tasmania as a subsidy, which should otherwise be going to 
hospitals, police or schools. Some 60 per cent, two out of three 
Tasmanians, it is a terrific result. I thank the Wilderness Society for 
their survey and for a terrific commendation by the Tasmanian people of 
the policies of the Hodgman Liberal Government.