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Liberal Matter of Public Importance - Jobs and the Economy

2 May 2019

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Madam Deputy Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to this matter. I will take up the first point Mr Tucker made. He mentioned the forestry industry. It would be good to know, formally today, Labor's position on whether they are running away from the historic Tasmanian Forestry Agreement. Mr Bacon gave a tacit agreement to that but he is now leaving the Chamber. The first thing Mr Bacon said was, 'We have no truck with anything that Mr Tucker said'; no truck from the Labor Party with anything Mr Tucker said in his whole speech. That is a very interesting statement, very telling, on salmon and on forests. They are in lockstep with the Liberals on both those issues. Let us not forget that this -

Mr BACON - Point of order. What I said is, I do not have a problem with a lot of what Mr Tucker said.

Dr Woodruff - That is exactly what I said, Madam Speaker.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER - It is not a point of order, I am sorry.

Dr WOODRUFF - You can stand up in your adjournment speech and make those comments if you wish, but check the Hansard.

Mr BACON - On a point of order.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER - It is not a point of order.

Mr Bacon - She is misleading the House. It is blatant.

Dr WOODRUFF - You have your right to stand on the adjournment. They can check the Hansard. The Labor Party is clearly running out the back door, from their historic signing of the forestry agreement. Let us remember why the Labor and Greens listened to the conservationists and the forestry sector who came to the conservation movement.

Mr Bacon - Why are you telling lies?

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order, Mr Bacon, you are warned for the first time. Please be quiet.

Dr WOODRUFF - Madam Deputy Speaker, the forestry movement came on their knees to the conservation movement and, over three years, an historic forestry agreement was worked through. There was much conversation and discussion. Why did we reach that point? Because the truth was there. It was a mendicant industry. It was being propped up by taxpayers, over $1 billion across 20 years. It had collapsed, the market had collapsed, and that is why we came to the point where Tasmanians came together and said, let us end this division. Let us talk about sustainable jobs for regional communities because that logging industry has done nothing. 

Corporate logging interests have done nothing for regional communities in Tasmania. They are going hell for leather for automation. They are not thinking about the interests or the long-term future for people in regional communities. The Labor Party is walking away from the commitment to put 356 000 hectares of highly biodiverse areas in Tasmania into reserves, which are the place so richly inhabited by our most beloved native animals and plants, the ones we want to keep travelling with us into the future - the large lobsters, the beautiful blue lobster, the quolls, the swift parrots, the masked owl, the wedge-tailed eagle and their the highly biodiverse habitat. This is exactly what was agreed across three years. You know what? 

The vast majority of Tasmanians, 75 per cent of Tasmanians, do not support the Liberals' move to go back into the 356 000 hectares. They reject that. They do not want the pathway to division. They want the Government to put its efforts into thinking about regional communities and planning for the future. They would be scandalised to hear that the Labor party has walked away from this huge historic agreement. 

Let us not forget that what is happening here is the Labor Party is going back to the dark past of having their decisions written for them by their corporate logging mates. That is what is happening. You are going back to the bad old days because you cannot make the hard decisions. You cannot stick with conviction. I was on the Huon Valley Council when the previous Cabinet met with councillors. I heard from then deputy premier, Bryan Green, from his lips, the very reason they had come to this position. The reason that they had come to the position of signing the Tasmanian Forestry Agreement was because of the facts that were brokered by the conservation movement, particularly the forestry movement, knowing the market, knowing the future, knowing the reality of the junk pulp that we were selling overseas for chips for nothing. We were paying to sell it overseas. We were paying public money that could have gone into north-west communities or into Geeveston and the southern communities where they could be having rich sustainable futures with a pathway. 

There is no pathway in the forestry industry. There is no future where you can look at your son, your daughter, your grandson or your granddaughter and say, 'This is an industry I can be proud of. It will be here in 80 years' time'. What a joke. This is an industry pushing hard for automation. There are very few people left employed in the industry. All we are doing is giving our most biodiverse forests over to corporate logging interests, most of whom are pillaging, rampaging highly biodiverse areas in other countries.