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Cassy O'Connor MP

FSC Certification Pipe Dream

Parliamentary Activity - Thursday, 27 October 2016, Cassy O'Connor MP


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

Forestry Tasmania is almost two years behind schedule on achieving forest stewardship certification, a goal that appears to be disappearing out of reach for FT under your policy. Can you please tell the House whether FT has provided any advice on the impact of your cynical, political move to open up the moratorium forests to logging? Have the FSC auditors been informed of the plan to log forests set aside for reserves? If so, what is the auditors' response? If not, when will they be informed and how will you explain to the auditors how your plan to log high-conservation- value forests and spark civil unrest is compatible with forest stewardship certification?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. To tackle the last question first with respect to civil unrest, the Greens are the only party talking about civil unrest. They want us to do nothing, which would force the loss of some 700 jobs in rural and regional Tasmania but the Greens policy is a total annihilation of the native forest sector around Tasmania . That would lose thousands of jobs. Thousands of Tasmanians would lose their jobs in rural and regional Tasmania under a Greens policy to halt native forest harvesting in Tasmania. We know their views. The record of the previous Labor government is very clear with more than 4000 jobs lost in this sector.

As I have indicated already in the answer to the member for Lyons, we support Forestry Tasmania's application for forest stewardship council certification. We have ongoing discussions and consultation with Forestry Tasmania, together with my shareholder minister and Treasurer. We are very thankful for those discussions because they give us good advice. We receive that advice and act on it following consultation with key stakeholders and others in the community.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. I apologise to you for raising this. The question is very simple: Has FT been in touch with the auditors to let them know what the minister has done?

Madam SPEAKER - I understand the point of order but it is also not to be used as an opportunity to re-ask a question. I cannot put words into a minister's mouth; that is not my role. All I can do is urge ministers to utilise the time they have available to attempt to answer the question or questions.

Ms O'CONNOR - Briefly on the point of order, Madam Speaker, the question was written very deliberately to be simply about FSC and FT. I have done that on the basis of your previous ruling, so I ask the minister to address that question.

Madam SPEAKER - I am explaining to the House that, short of my putting words into the mouth of a minister, there is nothing I can do other than ask a minister to direct his or her mind to the question or questions asked.

Mr BARNETT - The member is attempting to rewrite her question. She talked about civil unrest and she has not admitted it. I wanted to address that part of the question.

The Greens are embarrassed by the Tasmanian Wilderness Society survey polling that has just been released, with 40.6 per cent of those polls saying the Tasmanian Liberal Government has a clear plan for the problems facing the Tasmanian forest industry. That plan was only released yesterday. They had only received part of the plan when the polling was done, so they are embarrassed as a result of that poll.

The only people who will be pushing for civil unrest will be the Greens. I ask them to cease those objectives. Question 3: 61.2 per cent in that poll want resource security. They want job security. They do not want the taxpayer to pay. The Wilderness Society's own poll is supporting the Government's objectives, making it very clear that 60 per cent - two out of three Tasmanians - support our objectives to get a good result in resource security, to secure jobs and stop sending millions of dollars into Forestry Tasmania as a subsidy, which should otherwise be going to hospitals, police or schools. Some 60 per cent, two out of three Tasmanians, it is a terrific result. I thank the Wilderness Society for their survey and for a terrific commendation by the Tasmanian people of the policies of the Hodgman Liberal Government.

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