Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for RESOURCES, Mr BARNETT
Did you hear Terry Edwards, from the Forest Industries Association, on radio today? Are you feeling even lonelier on the forest today with only your Liberal colleagues behind you, every credible industry operator now against you, and Forestry Tasmania not supporting you?
You have consistently claimed the industry needs access to the 356 000 hectares of high conservation value forest that was set aside for protection under the Tasmanian Forest Agreement. Given that FIAT is the key industry representative body and it does not support your plan, will you now admit that is a bare-faced deceit perpetrated against the Tasmanian people and that there is no sound basis for logging these forests?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. This is the member who is the leader of the extreme Greens who have a policy, on the public record, to close down the native harvesting in Tasmania and put out of work thousands of Tasmanians in a flash. That is the policy of the Greens in Tasmania.
In terms of any credibility when talking about forestry and jobs, they have none whatsoever. Likewise, those on the other side who cosied up to the Greens in their insatiable appetite for power under the previous Labor-Greens government signed the disreputable jobs-destroying Tasmanian Forest Agreement, which put out of work thousands of Tasmanians. Two out of three forestry jobs were lost under the previous Labor-Greens government. What a disgrace; taking the forest industry. They decimated it and brought it to its knees.
With respect specifically to the views of the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania, unlike our predecessors, this Government acts in the public interest. It acts for all Tasmanians. We are acting for all Tasmanians and it is no surprise. Unlike the previous government, we are not captive to noisy minority groups. We are not captive to vested interests.
Opposition members interjecting.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. I cannot hear the minister.
Mr BARNETT - It is not surprising the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania is acting in the commercial interests of their members. That is not surprising. We are acting in the public interest for all Tasmanians. The Tasmanian public sent a very clear message at the last election. They said, 'No more lock-ups.' They said,' Tear up the Tasmanian Forest Agreement.' What we are doing - and we have the resolve to do it - is to step forward, act in the public interest to save the jobs and end the subsidies. We, in this last act, will tear up that Tasmanian Forest Agreement, the jobs-destroying agreement. That is our plan; that is our resolve.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. I have already ejected one member this morning I do not want to have to eject more.
Mr BARNETT - Madam Speaker, that is our plan, that is our resolve, and that is our intent. One reason the majority Hodgman Liberal Government has had progress in growth in the economy - more jobs, 4300 jobs over the last three years, getting the budget back into the black - is so we that can reinvest in health, education and frontline services. The reason is we are acting in the public interest for all Tasmanians, not for vested interest, not for special minority groups.
We are on the right track. We are doing what is right for Tasmanians. We are saving jobs. We are growing the industry and we are ending the subsidies.