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Budget 2020-21 - Native Forest Logging Industry


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 12 November 2020

Tags: Native Forest Logging

Budget 2020-21 - Native Forest Logging Industry, Cassy O'Connor MP, 12 November 2020

 

Ms O'CONNOR question to TREASURER, Mr GUTWEIN

After plundering high conservation value forests at public expense for the past 13 years, Ta Ann yesterday walked away from its Huon mill. Instead, it will consolidate at Smithton, closer to the tall eucalypt and rainforest carbon sinks of the Tarkine where the plunder will not only continue, it will accelerate.

Over the journey, this Malaysian timber giant has received an estimated $44 million in subsidies, including on your watch. Can you confirm that despite your 2014 election pledge to end the subsidies to the logging industry, today's Budget will continue the funnelling of public money into propping up the native forest logging industry? Will you also confirm the clear evidence that this industry cannot survive without public subsidies? Indeed, as Ta Ann demonstrates, it can barely survive even with them.

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank Ms O'Connor, the Leader of the Greens in Clark, for that question and her interest in this matter.

I will be very clear about this: the single most damaging matter that has affected the native forest industry was the disastrous Labor-Greens government back in 2010 to 2014.

Ms O'Connor - Yet yesterday you were talking about our positive climate profile. You hypocrite.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, please.

Mr GUTWEIN - The Greens leveraged their role in Cabinet to hold the Labor government to a position where, right across regional Tasmania, there were jobs lost -

Ms O'Connor - Starting in 2006.

Mr GUTWEIN - businesses lost, where children had to sit in their loungerooms with their parents -

Ms O'Connor - Tell the truth.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, order. We had this same behaviour yesterday. I am going to urge the Greens - I fully understand your passion and your commitment but you do not have the right to scream over everybody else, and before you stand up, you are screaming.

Ms O'Connor - I am not.

Madam SPEAKER - You are raising your voice in a very loud and unnecessary fashion.

Ms O'Connor - That is highly gendered language.

Madam SPEAKER - Please do not argue with me. I am pointing out that you have a right to your opinion, as does everyone else. People heard your contribution in silence and I ask that you hear the Treasurer in silence. If you cannot behave, you will not be allowed to stay in the Chamber because it is causing grief for everyone else. You are a passionate woman, I accept that, but you cannot yell when it is not your turn.

Ms O'CONNOR - On your ruling, Madam Speaker, all we ask, Dr Woodruff and I, is that your rulings are consistent. Repeatedly in question time, Labor goes off and they do not get pulled up.

Madam SPEAKER - That is not a point of order. Please proceed.

Dr WOODRUFF - Point of clarification, Madam Speaker. I found it very hard to hear the Minister for Health's response last time because Labor members were shouting across the Chamber. I want to point out the fact that Labor members continually interject when other ministers are speaking. It is the standard practice of the House during question time for members to have a discussion.

Madam SPEAKER - I have ruled. Please resume your seat. Tittle-tattling does not become you. I ask that Labor also behaves for this duration. Please proceed in a dignified manner, not you - the House.

Mr GUTWEIN - Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Ms O'Connor - Try telling the truth.

Madam SPEAKER - Okay, warning one.

Mr GUTWEIN - Madam Speaker, the member for Clark cannot help herself, to be frank. On many occasions this place has been described as being the right forum for a battle of ideas. Unfortunately, that is something you have walked past.

The point I was making before I was so rudely interrupted was that under the Greens-Labor government back in 2010-14 harm was inflicted upon families and on regional communities simply because of a desire to remain in government. The price that the Labor Party paid and Tasmanians -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, standing order 45, relevance. The question related to the Budget and also asked the Treasurer whether or not the subsidies to the native forest logging industry will continue. We do not want a false history lesson in here.

Madam SPEAKER - You have been heard but that is not a point of order. Please proceed, Premier.

Mr GUTWEIN - It is not a false history. The Labor-Greens government was propped up by you. As a result of being propped up by you what Labor did was turn its back on the regional communities of Tasmania. Right around this state there were businesses that were closing, there were people losing their jobs, there were kids sitting in lounge rooms with their parents watching them lose everything. That was the price that you paid to remain in government.

Regarding the native forest industry, I commend Sustainable Timber Tasmania, which under this Government has returned a profit and is now providing dividends. That is the strength of the forest industry in Tasmania. This Government will not turn its back on those regional communities.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, standing order 45. Could the Treasurer please confirm whether or not the subsidies to the native forest industry will continue?

Madam SPEAKER - That is not a point of order. You know the rules of this House are that I cannot put words in the Treasurer's mouth, so that is not a point of order. I ask the Treasurer to be relevant.

Mr GUTWEIN - Thank you, Madam Speaker. I was making the point very clearly, and it has obviously been lost on the member, that Sustainable Timber Tasmania has returned dividends in the last three years. We will not turn our back on this industry. We will not turn our back on Tasmanians in regional and rural communities, unlike Labor and unlike you. Sustainable Timber Tasmania and the industry will be strongly supported by this side of the House because it provides jobs in regional Tasmania, it supports households in regional Tasmania, and it supports communities.