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Logging in High Conservation Value Forests

25 September 2019

 

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

We just heard the Premier deny that the logging industry is after the TFA second tranche reserves, but it is clear that the Forest Industries Association, whose members were paid tens of millions of dollars to get out of logging high-conservation-value carbon-banking forests, are now lining up to get back in them. An industry delegation was seen heading to your office yesterday.

National media reports suggest the focus of the industry's pitch to you to reopen reserve-value forests that were independently assessed, and which would undoubtedly restart forest conflict, is 64 000 hectares that they have already identified they want to get into.

What is the nature of your discussions with the Forest Industries Association? Where are those 64 000 hectares of carbon sink forests they want to clear fell and burn in a time of climate emergency?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Clark and Leader of the Greens. It is wonderful to be able to talk about forestry and the clear response of the Hodgman Liberal Government to rebuild the forest industry since the Labor-Greens government, when you were there with the Labor colleagues, walking hand-in-hand, killing off the forest industry. What happened? Two out of three jobs were lost while Labor and the Greens were in government. The industry was decimated, taken to its knees. Four thousand jobs across Tasmania, rural and regional areas; their jobs were lost.

Ms O'Connor - That is a lie.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor.

Mr BARNETT - That is a great shame. Guess what? The people of Tasmania sent a message. They said, 'We want to rebuild the industry. We want to back the Hodgman Government'. That is what they did in spades in 2014 and then in the next election. We have a mandate to build the forest industry. Why do you think it is a surprise that the timber community and representatives of the timber industry want to speak to the minister for Resources and members of the Hodgman Liberal Government? They want to rebuild and continue to rebuild the forest industry. We have runs on the board. This question is coming from the Leader for the Greens whose policy is to put out of work more than 1000 Tasmanians. They want to halt and close native forest harvesting in Tasmania. That is the Greens policy. The question is, what does Labor think about that policy?

Let's make it very clear. We have plans to continue sustainable growth of our forests.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, standing order 45. The minister has pressed that auto-loop speech he gives, but we want to know about your discussions with the Forest Industry Association and where those 64 000 hectares are. Please answer the question.

Madam SPEAKER - I am going to make a point on these standing order 45 points of order. I am going to extend the minister's time by a minute for that interjection. That is not a point of order. Thank you.

Ms O'Connor - Perhaps you could direct him to answer the question.

Madam SPEAKER - He is already up to 3.3 minutes. Minister, you have a short time.

Mr BARNETT - Thank you, Madam Speaker. I appreciate your observations and ruling in that regard. That was an unnecessary interjection by the Greens member.

Ms O'Connor - You have not answered the question. He has never gone near it.

Mr BARNETT - The Premier has answered it thoroughly already in this place.

Ms O'Connor - No, he has not.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor, please. I am trying to hold off giving you another warning.

Mr BARNETT - The future protection production forest is a wood bank.

Ms O'Connor - It is not.

Mr BARNETT - It is a sustainable growth.

Ms O'Connor - It is a carbon bank.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor, warning two.

Mr BARNETT - Productive forest and it is a wood bank. It is not how the Greens describe it. We have interests; of course there is interest. We continue to engage with the stakeholders in this place. So far there have been no proposals to access this resource presented to Government; however, we note the interest of industry and we welcome it.

Dr Woodruff - Have you met with Wilderness Society?

Mr BARNETT - We welcome the interest of industry because they create jobs. They are a sustainable industry. Wood is sustainable; it is renewable.

Dr Woodruff - They take money from taxpayers.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff, warning number two.

Mr BARNETT - It is the ultimate renewable and we love it. Wood is good. The sooner the Greens know about it, the better.

The question is, what about Labor? What about the Labor Opposition? What is their position with respect to this wood bank? They have been deathly silent. I want to know their position from my shadow minister. Do you support the view of this Government that, one, wood is good; two, it is sustainable, and three, this future production forest FPPF land is sustainable, is renewable and is a wood bank. You signed the agreement with the Greens to lock it up. The Tasmanian people sent a message, they said, 'Rip it up, no more lock-ups'. The Tasmanian public can be very clear; no more lock-ups on our side. The question is: what is the position of the Labor Opposition? Do they support the fact that wood is good and this is a wood bank, yes or no?

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