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FSC Certification Pipe Dream
Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for RESOURCES, Mr BARNETT
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
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
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
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.