You are here
Greens Motion - Logging in Tasmanian Forest Agreement Second Tranche Forests
Parliamentary Activity - Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Madam Deputy Speaker, I move -
That the House -
(1) Recognises that in a time of accelerating climate change and increasing CO2 emissions, natural carbon stores must be protected.
(2) Agrees that in a climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, there is no economic, social or environmental justification for logging old forests and releasing their carbon stores into the atmosphere.
(3) Understands that Tasmanian natural, carbon-rich forests are being logged at an accelerating pace under the Liberals, with hundreds of thousands of hectares more available for logging in April 2020.
(4) Commits to protecting the 356 000 hectares Tasmanian Forest Agreement second tranche reserve forests.
I can indicate that at the end of the debate a vote will be required.
There is no question in the mind of any rational person that we are living in a climate emergency. There is no question, if you are prepared to listen to the scientific consensus of around 98 per cent of scientists, that we need to keep the carbon that is in the ground in the ground. That applies as equally to coal mines, as it does to our old forests.
We are also, or course living in a biodiversity crisis.
These two cataclysmic scenarios that we are living through are deeply interconnected. You cannot separate a climate emergency from a biodiversity crisis. Climate breakdown will drive massive species extinction.
We are already being warned that there are about 1 million species at risk of extinction. Now, for anyone who can bear to watch, I urge you to have a look on social media at the pictures of the koala that was rescued from the bushfires in New South Wales the week before last. This little koala, one of an estimated 1000 or more of our iconic native animals, was terribly burned in those fires in New South Wales. This footage is of a woman going on the fire ground to grab this burned, charred, screaming koala. She is giving this koala water, she is pouring water on his burnt feet. He goes back to the koala rescue centre. Today we are told that this koala, who they had named Lewis, has died. He is only one of undoubtedly thousands and thousands of native animals that died, and continue to die, in those bushfires that are ravaging through the eastern states and South Australia.
We have a responsibility here in Tasmania, as guardians of our forests, and as custodians - caretakers, if you like - of all the wild creatures that live within them, to protect those forests. It is a moral duty that we now have.
We know that we need to protect those forests because, according to the forest carbon study we commissioned when we were in government, the entire forested landscape in Tasmania stores about 4 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent. The 356 000 hectares that were set aside under the Tasmanian Forest Agreement to go into reserves are a massive carbon store of about 13 gigatonnes if you are using the forest carbon study's information. We have in these forests here, in the 336 000 hectares the Liberals want to open up to logging on 8 April next year and across Tasmania's forest estate, an extraordinary carbon bank. It is a carbon bank that we are bound to keep safe for their own sake, for the climate's sake, for the sake of native animals and for our children.
According to the United Nations, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere continue to rise. They are rising at about 1.7 per cent every year, despite pledges that were made by nations under the Paris Agreement. Our emissions profile continues to rise. Deforestation is on the rise. Bushfires are burning. Carbon stores in the Amazon, in Siberia, in Antarctica, in South-East Asia, in the Congo, in Australia; massive, precious stores of carbon are being released into the atmosphere. It is immoral for any government to countenance logging these beautiful old carbon banks.
The scientists tell us that one of the most effective ways to bring down emissions and to draw down CO2 and methane from the atmosphere is to protect our forests, to reforest areas that have been denuded or logged and to rewild our landscapes. We have a unique opportunity in Tasmania to protect our gift to the world. As the holders of this gift, we have a responsibility to make sure it is looked after.
In another time, all the way back in 2014, the newly elected Liberal Government came into this place and tabled legislation called the Forestry ( Rebuilding the Forest Industry) Act 2014. It did away with four years of heart, sweat, tears and goodwill between forest industry leaders and the conservation movement, who came together at the table for the first time and agreed that something had to be done in order to end old-growth logging but also provide the industry with a pathway to a sustainable future, which would include being able to secure forest stewardship certification.
The Liberals came in 2014 and they undid that work. They gave the collective finger to the industry and the conservation movement. That 356 000 hectares of extraordinary forest that was independently verified as being of high conservation value and worthy of protection, set aside as the second tranche of reserves, were given the Orwellian name of Future Potential Production Forests. The Minister for Resources will soon start thumping the table, talking about jobs, jobs, jobs. The Treasurer also described these forests as a wood bank. It takes a special kind of detachment from the living world to describe those forests as nothing more than a wood bank. They are not a wood bank; they are a treasure trove. They are a carbon bank. They are a biodiversity wonderland. They provide mental health and wellbeing to all Tasmanians and people who come to visit them.
This Liberal Government, from 8 April next year, wants to allow the loggers back into those forests. I refer any member who has wilfully ignored the reality of the threat of desecration here to these forests that ring all parts of the island, except for the protected south-west World Heritage area, from the southern forests to Bruny Island and the Tasman Peninsula, Wielangta, the forests of the east coast near Triabunna, the north-east tier and the blue tier, the forests in the upper Tamar catchment and on the great western tiers, and the forests of one of the world's most outstanding wildernesses and most significant cultural heritage sites, the forest of takayna/Tarkine.
There is a reason that young people, young Greens, for example, who went up into the Tarkine last weekend to learn about that place with Dr Woodruff and the former member for Braddon, Paul O'Halloran, the great teacher, Basil. They came back from that experience transformed. My kid was among them and he talked about this being one of the most beautiful places he has ever seen in his life. These are sacred places. If you are a Christian, and I am not, surely you would understand that they are one of the masterpieces of creation, yet we have a Government here that wants to clearfell, burn and chip the Tarkine. Anyone who is thinking rationally knows that the Tarkine should be protected in a national park and World Heritage area and that it would deliver strong economic and social benefits to the north-west coast.
We have here these extraordinary forests and a government that wants to plunder them. I was talking earlier about this Government's aggressive detachment from the natural world. It might surprise the minister to know that there are people in the forest industry who respect the work of the Greens and they get in touch with us when they have a bit of information. They know that we are straight shooters on this issue. We do not say one thing to them out of one side of our mouth and vote another way in here. We have some information from a forest industry worker. I know this person's name and I have redacted it from the email.
What is happening in Tasmania right now is that the logging of old growth forests that are currently classified as permanent timber production land is accelerating. The native forest logging industry has indeed been revived. The corpse of the destructive native forest logging industry has been revived under the Liberals and it is coming at the expense of the plantation sector. This is some information that we got from a forest industry worker -
I trust you are well. You will have noted I expect a significant increase in native forest woodchip going through Bell Bay, Burnie, Geelong and Brisbane this last six months. This is set to increase.
The company responsible is Midway, a publicly listed company. They replaced the sustainable managed plantation hardwood-chip exports with native wood in response to the rapid decrease in the international pulp price in China. They then reduced the export price for that native forest product by $US20-plus, thereby making the plantation exporters unable to compete. The native product was already cheap to begin with, now it is the lowest-priced product in the world.
I appreciate that we all have businesses to run. However, what investment did Midway make in Tasmania's native forest? No-one wants the forest wars to reignite.
I will take a pause there and state the bleeding obvious, which is that there is definitely one person in this Chamber who wants the forest wars to reignite and that is Mr Barnett, the Minister for Resources, who has brought into this place the most draconian, oppressive and anti-democratic anti-protest laws in the country. Would you like a little bit of Mussolini with that, Madam Speaker? I go on:
No-one wants the forest wars to reignite. The current bushfires are enough of a heartache without further stress. Perhaps they have FSC or PEFC or FSC-controlled wood which legitimises the activity. However, the more native forest that is exported at low prices, the less investment in sustainably managed plantations will take place, due to commercial reality.
The above is my personal observation and is not necessarily a reflection of the company I work for, hence I am not corresponding from my work email . I do not expect you to do anything other than synthesise the information and perhaps research how much native wood is being exported by each port.
The Tasmanian Government is somewhat complicit, given that they visited North Asia to promote PEFC and native forest woodchip credentials twice this year. If we are to continue native forest exports, at least make it fair value for the forest owners.
Sincerely, Forest Industry Worker.
I have no doubt that is all true. I have corresponded with this gentleman and absolutely believe that what he says is true and it is a damning indictment on this Government and this minister, which is ramping up the logging of old trees in old forests that are massive carbon stores. It is a direct slap in the face to the 15 000 or more people who gathered on the lawns of Parliament House here on 20 September to strike for a safe climate. It is a direct rejection of the calls of young people for meaningful action on the climate emergency, not lip service, which is what we get from both the major parties. In this state, with our extraordinary carbon stores, we have a government that is knowingly logging old trees which contain the most carbon, clear-felling and burning and undermining the plantation sector.
When you look at the work that was undertaken by the Greens in government to deliver the forest carbon study, it makes it really clear that some of the most significant carbon stores in Tasmania are in our forests, in the forest soils and in the debris that falls on those soils. I will give you some relativities. The estimate is that in the future reserve forests there is about 13 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent. Here are some roughly equivalent emissions from about 365 000 hectares. It is approximately an average month of the National Energy Market's 2018-19 emissions, which were 150 megatonnes in 2018-19. It is approximately an average three weeks of Australia's 2017-18 electricity sector emissions. It is approximately a quarter of Australia's car emissions in 2016-17 and slightly greater than Australia's entire domestic aviation emissions. It is approximately half of Queensland's transport emissions in 2016-17 and the same for Victoria's, and it is around seven to eight times Tasmania's 2016-17 transport emissions of 1.6 megatonnes.
Tasmania's total emissions, including land use change and forestry for the financial year of 2017, which is the most recent available, is that we are 0.9 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent. As a result of the work of conservationists and scientists over a decade and as a result of the heart, the sweat and the tears that was put into the Tasmanian Forest Agreement and the negotiations and the fact that we did get the loggers out of 570 000 hectares of Tasmania's old forests, Tasmania is a net carbon sink. That is one bit of good news, but the danger here is that under the Liberals in government we are going to have CO2 belching out of our forests.
Are you bored, Dr Broad, or is there something I am saying that offends your scientific sensibilities? I heard you huffing and puffing a few times.
Dr Broad - Are you giving a contribution or making -
Ms O'CONNOR - I am, but you are making really strange noises over there.
Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order, contributions through the Chair, please.
Ms O'CONNOR - Madam Deputy Speaker, the risk here is that we are going to lose our capacity to say to the world that we are a net carbon sink. We will not stand for it. We know there are thousands of Tasmanians who support the protection of our forests and there is one thing you can be absolutely sure of, they will not be frightened off by these early onset fascism anti-democracy laws that have been put forward by Mr Barnett on behalf of the Government. There is not enough room in all the jail cells in Tasmania to house the people who will stand up to defend Tasmania's forests. This is something that is deeply felt by people who are connected to the natural world. We regard it as a sacrilege to log those forests. It is a crime again the climate, a crime against nature, and a crime against future generations. It is utterly immoral to allow the loggers to enter the 356 000 hectares that were independently verified as being of high conservation value. The date is coming upon us fast. On 8 April next year the moratorium expires and civil society in Tasmania is not going to stand by and let the logging happen.
I joined the march in the Styx in 2004. There were at least 10 000 people who had made their way out to the Styx Forest and marched to save them. I have marched in rallies, as has Dr Woodruff, to stop the pulp mill. There are thousands and thousands of people, good and true Tasmanians, who defend this island with their heart and soul and body. We are not going to let this happen. We will fight this every step of the way. The reality is there are so many Tasmanian communities who are touched by these forests.
Late last week I went up to a forests information meeting at Bicheno and heard about how the locals feel about the fact that the forests around them are threatened. On this map which has come from the LIST which describes the permanent production forests and future reserves, you can see that all the pink colour on this - and I hope you understand I am not holding up a prop, Madam Deputy Speaker - all the pink on this is the future reserve forests, treasures of nature, and if you are a Christian and do not recognise that this is one of Creation's greatest masterpieces, then there is something wrong with your interpretation of your faith.
Madam Deputy Speaker, if you believe that human beings actually have dominion over the Earth, there is something wrong with the way you think because you are disconnected from life on Earth. We are all part of the web of life. That is a biological truth. We do not have dominion over this planet. It is not ours to destroy, and those forests are not the Liberals to log.
If they think Sustainable Timber Tasmania will be getting an easy ride on forest stewardship certification when you have one level of government going for the FSC, and that is Sustainable Timber Tasmania, and another threatening to log some of the most significant high-conservation-value forests - most carbon-dense forests on the planet - it is not going to happen. We are not going to stand by and let that happen. We will not be scared by those dangerous laws, and we know that a very significant percentage of Tasmanians agree with us.
Mr Deputy Speaker, the forest industry's own polling, which was leaked and then made public after it was leaked nationally, found that in Tasmania there is 71 per cent support for ending native forest logging. So, whose side is this minister on? He is not on the community's side. If he was on the industry's side, he surely would want them to have a GBE that could get forest stewardship certification. Whose side is he on? He is not on Tasmania's side, he is on the side of pillaging and plundering some of the greatest natural treasures on Earth.
I commend the motion to the House.
Mr BARNETT (Lyons - Minister for Resources) - Mr Deputy Speaker, on behalf of the Government, I will be leading the charge and indicating strong opposition to this particular motion, and say up front that one of the reasons we have the fastest growing economy in Australia, and we are proud of it, with between 15 000 and 16 000 extra jobs since we came to government, is because we have put measures in place to rebuild our forest industry and, guess what? It has worked, and it is working, and we have every intention for it to continue to work. We want the forest industry to be rebuilt, unlike the Greens, who have a policy, pure and simple, to close down the native forest harvesting industry in Tasmania. That is their policy, that is your policy.
Ms O'Connor - Yes, we confess.
Mr BARNETT - So the Leader of the Greens confesses to that.
Ms O'Connor - We confess that we are here to protect nature.
Mr BARNETT - What we know is when that policy is implemented, if it were ever to be, and woe betide if it were ever to be implemented, not only hundreds but thousands of Tasmanians would be put out of work. Rural and regional Tasmania would be decimated. Of course, this is exactly what occurred under the Labor-Greens government previously, with all the lock- ups, two out of three jobs in the forest industry -
Ms O'Connor - Lock-ups? Are you serious?
Mr BARNETT - Mr Deputy Speaker, as I was saying, under the Labor-Greens government, two out of three jobs were lost, 4000 jobs. People suffered economic and social misery of the worst order under the Labor-Greens government. All that occurred on the watch of the Greens in cahoots with Labor under that coalition Labor-Greens government.
We know full well, on this side of the House, that wood is good. I have said it time and again, and I will say it again: wood is good. It is recyclable, it is sustainable, it is renewable, it is the ultimate renewable. We are in a Chamber here surrounded by beautiful timber, beautiful brown and light timber.
I was with members of the forest industry last night with the visiting architects program and it was excellent, because they were proud and positive about their industry and their future under a majority Hodgman Liberal Government. That is very encouraging indeed. The specialty timbers were a feature, of course, of the timber in this place, in Parliament House, the committee rooms, for example. I do not know about the Greens, but I am proud of it. I know other people in here are proud of it, which is excellent.
Ms O'Connor - They would be the rainforest species that were left to burn on the forest floor in the past.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order.
Mr BARNETT - The motion before us is an ideological thought bubble from the Greens, consistent with their anti-everything practice and process and agenda to close down industry, productive industries, and specifically the forest industry. They have a policy to close down native forest harvesting and the native forest industry in Tasmania.
Guess what, let me move slightly to Victoria. You knew it was coming -
Dr Broad - Of course I did, you are so predictable.
Mr BARNETT - Dr Broad, the Victorian Labor Government just a few weeks ago did that. They took on board the views of the Greens. They wanted to capture those inner-city Greens votes, and they just threw onto the unemployment scrap heap thousands of Victorians in rural and regional Victoria, using $120 million of Victorian taxpayers' money to close down native forest harvesting.
I would like to know the views of the Labor Opposition in this parliament. Do they support the decision of the Victorian Labor Government to do exactly what the Greens want them to do, and that is to close down the native forest sector? What we need to know today from the Labor Party and their representative, Dr Broad, is does he support what has occurred in Victoria? They have been mute when it comes to forestry and jobs in this sector across the state, and specifically in Victoria.
We know what happened under the Labor-Greens government with the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, under that TFA. We took it to the election and what did the people say? They said, 'We support a majority Hodgman Liberal Government. We support you to tear up that TFA and to reinvest in our forest industry and help rebuild it.'
In addition to that, the Greens are up to their tactics, as usual, to paint a picture that we are doing nothing when it comes to climate change and the environment. We are delivering big time when it comes to the Tasmania First energy policy. Why will the Greens not come on board and support that? Why will Labor not come on board 100 per cent and say, congratulations, well done? By 2022 we will be delivering 100 per cent fully self-sufficient, fully clean renewable energy. Fantastic. Low-cost, reliable, clean energy.
Why will they not say, 'Good on you, well done, Government, good job, that is the way to go'? Why will they not come on board and support our renewable energy developments, including the Marinus Link and Battery of the Nation pumped hydro? What about the wind farms on the north-west coast and elsewhere? Bob Brown, we know, is totally opposed, and what is the position for the Greens? They have been mute on it and they need to come clean. They need to come clean and express their position.
We have heard some of the views of the Leader of the Greens with respect to carbon in wood. Let us just have a look at some of the scientific reports of the fact that wood is good. It is recyclable. It is sustainable. It is renewable. In fact, it is the ultimate renewable. The Government accepts the view of the experts, namely the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Energy Agency. Let us see what they say about this:
The sustainable management of forests, including a mixed strategy of conservation and timber production, is more likely to be optimal for atmospheric carbon reduction.
To quote the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land, which was released in August 2019, just a few months ago:
Sustainable forest management can maintain or enhance forest carbon stocks and can maintain forest carbon sinks, including by transferring carbon to wood products.
Where wood carbon is transferred to harvested wood products, these can store carbon over the long-term and can substitute for -
Ms O'Connor - You are cherry picking from that report, which was very clear about protecting forests.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order.
Ms O'Connor - What a wonderful sound that was, Mr Tucker, thank you.
Mr BARNETT - emissions-intensive materials reducing emissions in other sectors …'. Tasmania's forest operations produce responsibily-sourced wood that is both renewable and sustainable.
Ms O'Connor - Lie.
Mr BARNETT - Excuse me.
Ms O'Connor - I said that was a lie.
Mr BARNETT - You should be withdrawing that.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Could you please retract that, Leader of the Greens.
Ms O'Connor - Do you think it is true? Do you think it is not a lie?
Mr BARNETT - You have said that I have just lied. That is wrong.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Withdraw, please.
Ms O'Connor - Yes, I do. I withdraw, but you did.
Mr BARNETT - I will attempt to continue, despite the interjections from the Leader of the Greens -
Dr Woodruff - Try to be honest while you do it.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff.
Mr BARNETT - and the Greens member for Franklin. Our wood products store carbon absorbed from the atmosphere. After wood is harvested, our trees are replanted. Our timber is the ultimate removal, as I have been saying.
In Tasmania we have the Wood Encouragement Policy. We are the first state that has introduced the Wood Encouragement Policy. I was at a forestry ministers' meeting in Adelaide on Monday last week, and Tasmania is leading the way across the country. We are pleased and proud of what we are doing for our forest industry. I am not surprised that we have confidence back in the industry after the five years we have spent rebuilding it. Why is it that production and confidence are up? Why is it that we now have 5700 jobs in the sector after it being decimated, cut down to its knees under the Labor-Green government? It is because of the Hodgman Liberal Government and our policies to rebuild the sector.
We have a WEP and a 20-year, rolling regional forest agreement. Again, the first in Australia. I am proud of that, and signed that on behalf of the Government, together with Premier, Will Hodgman. That was a great day at Neville Smith Forest Products in Invermay with the Prime Minister and the minister for Forests, Anne Ruston, at the time. That gives confidence . That says resource security is locked in and we are so pleased and proud of that effort because it is good for the economy, the environment and it is good all-round.
The importance of the industry should not be underestimated because there has been a lot of talk about native forestry. It supports more than 40 per cent of Tasmania's total forest industry jobs. Where are these jobs? More than 60 per cent of forestry jobs are located in Tasmania's north and north-west. According to polling, 90 per cent of Braddon voters support the native forest industry in Tasmania and over 80 per cent in Bass recognise the importance of the native forest industry to our economy.
In terms of the Greens policy to close it down, to halt it, to kill it off; guess what? Not a good strategy, not when it comes to public support. That is why you got less than 4 per cent at the last election in Braddon. Your plan to lock up and extra 10 per cent of Tasmania in a world heritage Tarkine national park is not such a good strategy. It did not go down so well in Braddon, did it? That sends a message and that is why we are in Government and delivering a plan a long-term plan to grow and rebuild the forest industry.
The Future Potential Production Forest that the member incorrectly asserts again and again as reserve forest; that is wrong. It is a wood bank. It is Future Potential Production Forest. That is exactly what it is and the member knows it but she attempts to give it a different name. She also attempts to mischaracterise the date of April 2020, which is set out in legislation. The member knows that certain terms and conditions must still be met and there still must be support from both Houses of this Parliament.
I would like to throw a special commendation to the specialty timber sector and say, thank you for what you are doing because without our native forest industry, you would not have a speciality timber sector, you would not have boat building, furniture building and all those fine craftsmen in Tasmania. It would not happen.
Ms O'Connor - This is the timber that was left on the forest floor to burn by Gunns and Forestry Tasmania.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor.
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I do not want the minister to mislead the House. The rainforest timbers were left by Gunns and Forestry Tasmania to burn on the forest floor over decades and that is why their resource is substantially diminished.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - That is not a point of order and you know that.
Mr BARNETT - Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. The lame attempts by the Leader of the Greens to distort the truth is absolutely rejected. I am proud of the native industry and the speciality timber sector.
I want to make it very clear with respect to trees, I have said wood is good, trees increase productivity, particularly on-farm. Trees improve water efficiency and water quality. They can improve the carbon balance and they protect the land for the future. There is a global demand for timber, which is expected to quadruple by 2050. That says that Tasmania is in the box seat. It says Tasmania has a great strength here, one of our natural advantages, and this is what I say to my kids; build on your strengths, be the best that you can be. I say it to our communities, our small businesses and there are many of those around Tasmania that I would say the same to; build on your strengths. We have natural advantages in Tasmania, we grow trees really well, let us do it, Mr Deputy Speaker.
This motion is an ideological thought bubble for the Greens. It is consistent with their attacks on the forest industry and to put people out of work in rural and regional Tasmania. It should be opposed and the final call again is to the Labor Party to ask, what is your position with respect to the Victorian Labor Government crying out for support in inner- city Melbourne to try to get those Greens-oriented, socialist left votes? They are putting thousands and thousands of Victorians on the unemployment scrap heap at the cost of taxpayers' money, just as they did under the Labor-Greens government prior to our election in March 2014. What is Labor's view, what is their position? Please disclose so that all are aware.
Dr BROAD (Braddon) - Mr Deputy Speaker, Tasmanian Labor supports the native forest sector and we do not support, as the member for Clark has indicated, a shutdown of the native forest industry. We think that the native forest industry has a significant role to play and should be supported into the future. As such, we have supported both the Strategic Growth Plan for the Tasmanian Forests, Fine Timber and Wood Fibre Industry and the Special Species Management Plan.
I will address some of the things the Leader of the Greens, the member for Clark, expressed, which is utter nonsense.
Mr Barnett - Victoria, come on. Dr BROAD - Other states can do what they like.
Mr Barnett - You're mute on it.
Dr BROAD - And you're foolish. I want to talk about some of the things that member for Clark raised. The member for Clark is very good at the emotive language, her expression and the way that she presents an argument . However, the problem with the argument is that most of it is, unfortunately, utter nonsense, especially when the member talks about carbon.
We have seen in the past how the Greens reformat their arguments based on the current circumstance. What we see now is that the shift away from talk of the importance of forestry in terms of biodiversity and so on to being carbon rich. We hear the carbon rich argument being put with increasing frequency, so we have to have a discussion. The minister alluded to some of it, but I would like to point out to the member for Clark what actually happens when a tree is harvested.
When forest operations go into a coup and a tree is logged, the carbon does not simply evaporate into the atmosphere and cause global warming. That is not what happens. What happens is that tree is put on the back of a log truck and taken somewhere and processed into timber products, flooring.
Ms O'Connor - Usually woodchips for toilet paper.
Dr BROAD - We are talking about native forests. A lot of it is going into flooring. A lot of the tree remains on the forest floor, the leaves, the branches, the bark, not to mention that most of the tree is underground. When you look at a tree, half of its biomass is underground.
Dr Woodruff - He doesn't know what he's talking about.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff.
Ms O'Connor - You pretend you are a scientist.
Dr Woodruff - You are totally wrong.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff. Do you want your first warning?
Dr BROAD - They are absolutely intolerant of any other opinions. If that gets milled into a timber product, into panelling, into plywood, then that goes into the market and replaces carbon-intensive products like steel and concrete. A sustainable native forest industry is part of the solution to climate change because it replaces those carbon-intensive materials like steel. If you want a beam to cross a big span, do you put in blue laminated beams and so on, or do you go to a carbon-intensive product like a steel beam? If we talk about carbon accounting then you are far better having a wood product there than a steel or concrete product.
Ms O'Connor - What about the standing forests?
Dr BROAD - Let us talk about standing forests. In Tasmanian forests we have wet sclerophyll, we have dry sclerophyll and then we have rainforest. What happens in a dry sclerophyll forest when it reaches a certain age, when it is mature, when it is old forest, as the member for Clark talks about? What happens then is carbon is in equilibrium. It gives off carbon through decay and it locks up carbon at roughly the same rate. There are a few things that can happen to a dry sclerophyll forest. One is that it can be harvested, it can be managed or it can be not managed, and then it is basically waiting around for a catastrophic bushfire, because these forests will burn. It is not a matter of if it will burn, it is a matter of when it will burn.
We also have this idea of rewilding and this myth of wilderness and the idea that the Tasmanian landscape has never been managed, that if you see tree on a hill, it has always been there. It is not the case. There has been a significant change to the management of Tasmania's forest because it has not been continually burned and it has been continually burned for thousands of years. The idea that you can walk away from forests and they will stay the same is a complete fallacy. It is not the case. If you go into the historical records, if you look at historical paintings from colonisation, you will see a much more open landscape than we see now. That is the case in Victoria and other places as well.
What happens to these forests if there is a catastrophic fire? All that carbon goes up into the atmosphere and it is horrendous for the environment. Catastrophic bushfires are the worst thing you can see in terms of carbon and damage to the environment.
Dr Woodruff - So you want to get rid of trees? Is that your plan, Dr Broad?
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff.
Dr BROAD - If it is a wet sclerophyll forest other things can happen. We know that eucalypts drop their leave and branches and actively encourage fire because that is their advantage over rainforest species. If there is a period of time, hundreds to thousands of years, where there is an absence of fire in a wet forest, then it transitions to a rainforest. We know that research in Tasmania shows that if that happens there is significantly less carbon in a rainforest than there is in a wet sclerophyll forest, in a wet eucalypt forest.
Ms O'Connor - Have you got something you can cite as evidence?
Dr BROAD - Yes, I have, Martin Moroney's work.
Ms O'Connor - You mean the fake scientist for Forestry Tasmania?
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order.
Dr BROAD - This is the absolute intolerance of the Greens. We have published, peer-reviewed work by a scientist that is simply dismissed. His reputation is machine-gunned by the Greens because he does not suit their ideological position that every tree is sacred.
Dr Woodruff - Keep your pet paid scientist. Pick the one paid by Forestry Tasmania. What a joke.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff.
Dr BROAD - That is where we are heading with this. Their ideological viewpoint is that every tree is sacred. They move away from biodiversity to where you cannot touch a tree because it has carbon in it, because it is biodiverse, because it is whatever. That is the way they are moving. Every tree is sacred and when somebody stands up and contradicts them then it is a religious thing. We heard all sorts of really weird arguments here today that if you cut down forests or if you process wood from native timbers then you cannot be a Christian or you cannot be anything. I cannot be a scientist because I do not believe in their ideology. They are absolutely intolerant of any other opinion and it is a disgrace.
Dr Woodruff - You can't be a scientist because you don't listen to scientific evidence and you don't look at your sources. Sources should not have conflicts of interest like being paid by the company they work for.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff.
Dr BROAD - I am just quoting from Martin Maroney's work which is in a peer- reviewed scientific journal. It is a simple calculation.
Dr Woodruff - That is not an independent source.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff.
Dr BROAD - Wet sclerophyll forests have much more dense carbon because they are much bigger physically, they are taller forests. As they transition into rainforest they are physically smaller and contain less carbon. It is an indisputable fact. The fact that the Greens dismiss that offhand because the author is not on their list of approved scientists is an absolute disgrace. I have spoken in this place before about the machine-gunning of scientific reputations. It is disgraceful and the Greens are terrible at doing that. They should hang their heads in shame. They have this idea that you can rewild and simply walk away from these forests and nothing is going to happen, the carbon is going to sit there in eternity.
The minister quoted from the latest IPPC report. I will take that on face value but we know -
Dr Woodruff - You should not call yourself a scientist, Dr Broad.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff, first warning.
Dr BROAD - Why can't I call myself a scientist?
Dr Woodruff - Because you're not applying the basic rules of science: conflict of interest, independence and evidence.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff, second warning.
Dr BROAD - Absolute disgrace. If you do not believe in the Greens' mantra you cannot be a scientist, you cannot be a Christian, you cannot be a policy maker. You have this list of massive intolerance from the party that is supposed to be tolerant. What a crock, seriously.
What happens if you just leave these trees alone? They have to burn. How do you prevent those burns? How do you prevent catastrophic bushfires? Those forests have to be managed. How do you manage those forests if there are no roads, if there are no firebreaks, if there is no fuel reduction? If large patches of forest have no access, how do you get in there to control fires? Your only option is to try vainly to bomb from the skies with increased size aeroplanes and so on, dropping more and more and more water, which we know will not stop a catastrophic fire. Those dumps of water are good for protecting assets like houses and maybe for hitting fire fronts that are slower burning. When it comes to a catastrophic fire there is nothing that can stop it without you being able to get in there and control the fire early, or put in firebreaks and the like, or do fuel reduction burns.
If the forests are left to rewild, as the member for Clark talks about, there are no trained workers there, there are no bulldozers, there are no roads, and there are no firebreaks. The only thing that will happen is that when a bushfire it will get going and in the conditions like we are seeing more and more frequently there will be a catastrophic fire and all that carbon will go into the atmosphere. It will be devastating for the ecology and it will take hundreds of years to recover. Whereas a sustainably managed native forest system where you go in and log coupes and do not come back for another 100-odd years is good for biodiversity, because these forests are actually accustomed to disturbance.
When you cut down those trees other trees grow. You show these photos of a logged coupe with the pretence that is always going to look like that. There is going to be a tree stump for a thousand years and it is going to be a moonscape. You go back there in a few years time and all the trees are growing again and those trees that are growing are locking up more and more carbon, far more carbon than -
Dr Woodruff - You are being untrue. That is totally false. It takes 120 years.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff.
Dr BROAD - What, so growing trees do not lock up carbon, everybody, that is false. I have been called out because growing trees do not lock up carbon.
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Dr Broad, in trying to defend the indefensible, is totally misrepresenting the science and misrepresenting our position and it is deeply disappointing that we have a scientist in this place who is prepared to do that. Dr Woodruff is not prepared to do that.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - You know that is not a point of order.
Ms O'Connor - It is a point worth making, though.
The House divided -