Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for RESOURCES, Mr BARNETT
In a public statement yesterday, head of the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania, Terry Edwards, stated in relation to his members:
What is very clear to us is that they will not accept wood from these contentious forests.
The industry has condemned your plan to log 356 000 hectares of high conservation value forest that was set aside from protection under the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, an agreement they negotiated and signed up to in good faith. FIAT members do not want to go in there. Just who are you opening these forests up for at such great environmental, social and economic cost? Can you confirm that with local timber businesses refusing to support your plan that your Government will have to aggressively target interstate and foreign timber companies to plunder our forests in order to justify your cynical and destructive plan?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. She used the word 'cynical'. I find it somewhat cynical that the member would come into this place and quote a forest industry representative when she has spent most of her life trying to close down the forest industry in Tasmania. This is a policy, it is on the record and it is confirmed they want to close down native forest harvesting in Tasmania. That is the policy of the extreme Greens.
Opposition members interjecting.
Madam SPEAKER - Order.
Mr BARNETT - You are standing in this place asking a question, quoting the Forest Industry Association -
Madam SPEAKER - Order. It is difficult for me to hear the minister and I am listening intently to these questions so that we are not pre-empting an order of the day. So far we have not; we are just talking about forestry policies and plans generally, but I must be able to hear the minister.
Mr BARNETT - It is like the pot calling the kettle black. It is bizarre that the Greens are in here quoting the Forest Industry Association. This is an association that is representing its commercial interests and you have the Greens quoting the Forest Industry Association. They have spent most of their lives trying to kill off the forest industry in Tasmania and lock up more parts of Tasmania.
It is not lost on the public, particularly in north-west Tasmania, that the Greens actually want another Tarkine National Park extension, 6.5 per cent of the state extra in national park.
Ms Woodruff - We know it will bring jobs.
Madam SPEAKER - Order.
Mr BARNETT - The Greens want more World Heritage Areas in Tasmania. They want more of Tasmania locked up. There will be consequences in terms of jobs, not just forestry -
Ms O'Connor - Could you just tell us which companies you are going to flog the forest to?
Mr BARNETT - in the mining sector. What about the recreational land users as a result of this policy to lock up the Tarkine National Park?
Ms O'Connor - Who is going to log these forests?
Mr BARNETT - People shake in their shoes when they hear Greens policies of more lock ups. That was part of the cosy deal that included the Forest Industry Association. They were a signatory to that with the Labor-Greens cosy deal on the other side. Our plan is to save the jobs -
Mr Green - Sovereign risk, have you heard of that?
Mr BARNETT - to ensure that the resource security is available. We are making the timber available. It is not compulsory -
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. The question was very straightforward. Which companies does the minister think will want to log these forests? Are they foreign companies?
Madam SPEAKER - It was not a straightforward question and there was latitude given in asking the question and the minister is given the same latitude, but I would ask him to start winding up.
Mr BARNETT - In conclusion, our plan is to save jobs and end the subsidies. We know the Labor plan is to continue the subsidies. They announced their plan yesterday for more subsidies. It is a FIAT-Labor plan for more subsidies for the forest sector and not one more stick - I think I have heard that before - not one more stick from the Labor Party, there is no plan. We have resource security, job security and financial security and we are hoping to deliver on that policy.