You are here

Ministerial Statement on Forestry a Sham

27 October 2016

Forestry - Ministerial Statement

[11.23 a.m.]
Ms O'CONNOR (Denison - Leader of the Greens) - Madam Speaker, I give 
notice that on tomorrow I shall move -

That the ministerial statement on forestry delivered yesterday is a sham.

It is a sham because it misleads Tasmanians over the alleged need to allow 
loggers into 357 000 hectares of high conservation value forest. It 
misleads Tasmanians over the fact of ongoing subsidies, because it is a 
threat to the climate and it is designed to reignite forest conflict in 

Leave to suspend of Standing Orders

Ms O'CONNOR - Madam Speaker, I seek leave of the House to move that so 
much of Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent this motion from 
being debated forthwith.

This is clearly an urgent issue. The Minister for Resources came into 
this place yesterday and read out a ministerial statement that was laced 
with spin and mistruths. We still have not heard from the Minister for 
Resources, or the Premier, this morning when he was asked: what is the 
justification for reigniting conflict over forests in Tasmania? Where is 
the evidence that underpins the apparent need to go into high-conservation-
value forests that were independently verified and set aside in a previous 
term of government to go into reserves?

We know from science that has been updated in the past year, work, which 
has been undertaken by the company [Bookmark: OLE_LINK50] TreeMod off the 
back of the forest carbon study that was delivered in the previous term of 
government, that there is at least 13 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent 
sequestered in that 357 000 hectares of high-conservation-value forests.

The bottom line is that we are in this situation because the Liberals in 
government want a fight. The Liberals in government have so little vision, 
so few actual achievements and so little to offer Tasmanians, the best 
they can offer is more conflict over forests and ongoing subsidies, 
because we know the subsidies will continue. 

The advice from the Forestry Tasmania board makes it clear that the 
subsidies are embedded in the contracts with industry out to 2027. The 
subsidies will continue to go into forestry through the non-commercial arm 
of the new, perversely and incorrectly named Sustainable Timber Tasmania. 
The subsidies will continue to fund roading into areas of forest. 
Taxpayers will continue to underwrite this unsustainable native forest 
logging industry in Tasmania, as they have for the past two or three 
decades. The fact of the matter is, Madam Speaker, that every time -

Mr FERGUSON - Point of order, Madam Speaker. My point of order is on 
relevance and I will share why, if I may - because this happens every 
second Thursday.

Ms O'Connor - No it doesn't.

Mr FERGUSON - It happens very regularly on a second Thursday, Madam 

Madam SPEAKER - Order. This is a point of order. Cease the interjections
. Can we just have a bit of process here?

Mr FERGUSON - Madam Speaker, we know what Ms O'Connor is doing and it is 
her right as a member to move for leave, but she has not explained, on 
relevance she has to be debating right now why this motion - and it has 
not been distributed, I do not have a copy of it - is so urgent that it 
must be brought on forthwith and push out everything else on the notice 
paper off the agenda for the day.

Madam SPEAKER - I have heard the point of order and I direct the member to 
the urgency motion.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you, Madam Speaker. Unfortunately the Leader of 
Government Business was not listening because he is deaf to all arguments 
about how unsustainable native forest logging is in Tasmania. He is deaf 
to the fact that the planet is cooking. We have been through our hottest 
months, our hottest summer, our hottest year, our hottest decade on record
. The planet is cooking, and a key feature of rising global emissions is 

Deforestation contributes between 17 per cent and 20 per cent of total 
global emissions. The forests in Tasmania are massive carbon stores; we 
know that from credible science that underpinned the forest study that was 
delivered in the last term of government. There is up to 4 billion tonnes 
of carbon sequestered in Tasmania's forest estate. The science is clear. 
These forests are carbon banks and this is an urgent issue, because every 
single individual, business, government and corporation must take 
responsibility for bringing down global emissions. In 2016, the notion 
that a government would wilfully and without need allow for the release of 
CO2 from forests into the atmosphere through an unsustainable logging 
program is reprehensible, unethical and immoral. Our children are 
counting on us. As legislators, policy makers and community leaders, they 
need to know that governments take the climate challenge seriously.

The forests that Mr Barnett - Corporal Barnett on his donkey, galloping 
out of the parallel universe - wants to log are globally significant 
carbon banks. That is the science, that is a fact and that is why this is 
an urgent issue that must be debated by this House. We have a government 
that does not have a minister for climate change, a government that took 
apart the Tasmanian Climate Action Council, a government that has not yet 
delivered a climate plan, a government that wants to release massive 
belches of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere out of Tasmania's forests.

This is one of the most urgent issues this House has ever discussed, Madam 
Speaker. Tasmanians do not want a return to forest conflict. The only 
people in this place who want to send Tasmanians back into the trenches 
are the Liberals. The Liberals are deliberately and cynically reigniting 
conflict over forests in Tasmania, and we know that because the proposed 
date of allowing for logging in the 357 000 hectares is 1 July 2018. 
Hello? We are not stupid. We know exactly what you are doing here, Mr 
Barnett. You are wilfully restarting conflict over forests in Tasmania.

Time expired.

[11.30 a.m.]
Ms WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Madam Speaker, the Mercury today tells us exactly 
why we have to discuss this issue, and we cannot let this week of 
Parliament go by with an announcement by this Government of such a 
divisive, vandalistic thing to do to this state and this planet, to open 
up 400 000 hectares of globally significant carbon storage.

Mr Barnett - Who by?

Ms WOODRUFF - The minister asked who by? Brendan Mackey from the ANU has 
found in Tasmania the most substantial store of carbon, world renowned. 
Our trees have the ability to store more carbon than almost any other 
trees on the planet. Today in the Mercury we hear great news that swift 
parrots are nesting in human-manufactured boxes on Bruny Island because 
there are not enough tree hollows there for them. Thank god that Dejan 
Stojanovic, the Weetapoona Aboriginal Corporation and the Green Army came 
together and put them there, because those trees are under the axe of this 

There is a temporary moratorium in place, but with the minister's decision 
to go into the 400 000 hectares, those tree hollows are under threat. We 
are seeing trees in Buckland being logged. There are fewer and fewer 
nesting hollows left in this state. The swift parrot is a highly 
endangered bird, with fewer than 2000 birds left. They come only to 
Tasmania to breed every year and every single week there are fewer and 
fewer old native forest trees for them to nest in. It is a fact.

The only thing this Government ought to be focusing on is managing climate 
change, and at the top of the list is to store up what you have got. The 
second step is stop reducing emissions, let alone cutting down trees and 
emitting more tonnes of carbon dioxide to the point at which we have 
reached more than 400 parts per million globally. This is a fact, Mr 

Mr Shelton - You've never been out in the bush, have you? The fact is you 
don't know what you're talking about.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.

Ms WOODRUFF - We are in a severe global runaway climate change crisis. We 
have to be on a war footing for climate change, not a political stunt to 
try to get the Liberals re-elected. That is what this is. They need to 
refocus on the issue of the day, the issue of the planet.

Members interjecting. 

Madam SPEAKER - Order. Interjections will cease and the member will come 
back to the urgency.

Ms WOODRUFF - Our most important issue is our survival, the survival of 
all the plants and animals and humans, the life we lead and the life we 
hope our children will have. That has to be first and foremost. It is 
critical that we have this debate so the people of Tasmania know what this 
Government is trying to do.

They are endangering the future of our community. They are endangering 
all of the plants and animals the Government is supposed to be protecting. 
The Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage is being called out by 
the federal swift parrot recovery team group for holding up the process of 
recovery. The freshwater lobster is also highly endangered, again in 
areas which would be opened up under this minister's approach for managing 
the forest industry. It will wipe out the swift parrot and the freshwater 
lobster. These trees cannot be logged without wiping out these animals. 

We have to make a decision. Everyone in Tasmania, except the people 
sitting on the government benches, has made a decision that we want to go 
with living things. We do not want to go with dust or pieces of paper. 
We want to look after the Aboriginal -

Madam SPEAKER - Order. The member is straying from the urgency of the 
motion again.

Ms WOODRUFF - This is a conversation we need to have and we need to have 
it every single day. We need to have it until this government realises 
they are on a losing trajectory. The only way they can change is to 
support the forestry industry they say they are doing this for. They are 
doing the absolute opposite. The Premier said, 'We're supporting the 
forest industry', but they do not think so. That is not what Terry 
Edwards says. That is not what the woman who rang into Leon Compton last 
week said. She did not say that. She said, 'This is not a sustainable 
approach. This is not going to help us.' 

The Government is not listening. The minister is not listening to the 
Forestry Tasmania board, he is not listening to the Forest Stewardship 
Certification Committee. I do not think he is even talking to them any 
more. These are matters of the utmost importance to Tasmania, more 
important than anything else we could be talking about today. It rests on 
the survival of individuals, our clean green brand, and all the things we 
need to be protecting so we can get more jobs in the future. At the 
moment, the doors are closing. Unless this Government is prepared to send 
a signal to international markets, future investors and people who want to 
potentially set up clean green businesses in Tasmania to tourists from all 
around the world. At the moment they are getting a very poor value 
experience in some parts of Tasmania. 

Time expired.

[11.37 a.m.]
Ms DAWKINS (Bass) - Madam Speaker, the ministerial statement yesterday was 
nothing more than a snarling provocation to the environment movement to 
stand up and be counted again. It is an absurd notion that those people 
concerned with the future of human habitation on Earth want this fight. 
They want nothing more than to go back to their jobs, families and 
communities and get on with their lives knowing they have a government 
that understands the challenges of climate change, the importance of 
biodiversity and a healthy ecology to ensure future generations have the 
same styles of life and the same opportunities we have in Tasmania today. 

I have been on some of those marches and rallies. The sense of when 
people come together to fight for a common good and fight against a 
government that would oppress and regress is a strong feeling, but it is 
not something anybody wants to go back to. When the pulp mill was mooted 
for the Tamar Valley, 10 000 people marched in Launceston against that. 
We do not want to have to stand up and do that again but we are being 
provoked. You know this Government wants to provoke another forestry war, 
but it is the last thing we want.

I cannot let today go by without speaking about Lapoinya and some of the 
comments that were made -

Madam SPEAKER - No, no. This is on the urgency of the motion, not the 

Ms DAWKINS - The urgency is that there will be a repeat. The lies that 
were told; in the media it was suggested it had been a successful harvest 
and outstanding outcomes were achieved. Yet yesterday, we have a minister -

Madam SPEAKER - Order. I am going to pick up the member. This motion is 
seeking leave. If members succeed with their seeking of leave on the 
numbers in the House, then we move to debating the substance of the motion.

Ms DAWKINS - I will then go to the misleading of Tasmanians over the 
ongoing subsidies. It is a threat -

Madam SPEAKER - No, the urgency of the motion. That is the only thing you 
can address in seeking leave, otherwise I will cut short the debate and 
put the question, but I do not want to have to do that.

Ms O'Connor - I understand that, but on your ruling, Madam Speaker, Ms 
Dawkins is articulating the urgency because this Government's policies 
wants to create multiple situations like Lapoinya.

Madam SPEAKER - No, you are not there to defend Ms Dawkins. Ms Dawkins is 
quite able to submit that on her own behalf and I am sure she will do that 
in line with my ruling.

Ms DAWKINS - We will repeat the mistakes of the past if we continue to go 
down this line. You know we will. The minister stood up in this place 
yesterday and said, 'We do not want to repeat history, we want to learn 
from our mistakes'. Yet, here we have the most recent unrest in the 
forest at Lapoinya. We have John Lawrence standing up and saying, 'The 
numbers don't add up. There will be no money to be made by FT from this 
logging operation.' Lo and behold, that is exactly what happened. 

The incredulity of this Government, when that was discussed, was profound 
and it is disgraceful. The people at Lapoinya, their frustration, their 
anger, their bitterness over what they had to go through to watch that 
beautiful piece of remnant rainforest destroyed for no money, will 
continue to be repeated endlessly until this Government stands up and says, 
enough, we understand. Enough for these communities, enough for Tasmania, 
enough for the potential carbon sequestration of this forest to protect 
future human habitation on earth.

[11.41 a.m.]
Mr FERGUSON (Bass - Leader of Government Business) - This handwritten and 
scribbled out sham of a motion about a sham, there have been no arguments 
made by any of the members who have spoken to explain why this sham of a 
motion, that talks about a sham, is more important for this House today 
than the matter of public importance, than the Property Agents and Land 
Transactions Bill and the Gaming Control Amendment, which brings into the 
community interest test and the Mental Health Amendment Bill. It is a 
simple attempt to disrupt the House and the Government will not be 
supporting it.

[11.42 a.m.]
Mr LLEWELLYN (Lyons) - Madam Speaker, this is a process the Greens are 
involved in fairly regularly as a de facto matter of public importance.

Ms O'Connor interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order. The member has made her contribution.

Mr LLEWELLYN - If it is an urgent issue, my understanding, from the point 
of view of the procedures in the House at the moment is, there has already 
been a matter of public importance called on forestry. That will be 
debated in a little while. All the issues contained within this urgency 
motion can be debated within that matter of public importance. In effect, 
this is anticipating an order of the day, which is the matter of public 
importance on forestry. 

The House divided -