You are here

Infrastructure and Transport – Forestry Roads

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Tags: Roads

Ms O'CONNOR - With the annual maintenance expenditure on forestry roads transferred from Forestry Tasmania during the 2017 restructure, what was the rationale behind the transfer of the maintenance liability on forestry roads?

Mr FERGUSON - If you could outline in some more detail the nature of the question, we might need to take it on notice or come back to you, because we don't have that advice.

Ms O'CONNOR - Is there advice on the total number of roads, the kilometres of road, and proportion of Forestry Tasmania's roads that were transferred to state management, which means a more direct public subsidy? We're trying to find out here what's the kilometre area, the number of roads, that were transferred from Forestry Tasmania's maintenance budget to the state's?

Mr FERGUSON - Could I take that on notice please?

Ms O'CONNOR - Yes. I'll put those two questions on notice. Do you agree that transferring maintenance costs from a loss-making GBE, which is already significantly subsidised to the tune of $10 million to $12 million each year, despite the Government's promise to end the subsidies, is in fact a more direct subsidy of Forestry Tasmania's operations, because maintenance is now not carried on Forestry Tasmania's balance street?

Mr FERGUSON - If you make all of those questions on notice, I'll do my best to respond by the end of the day.

Ms O'CONNOR - You don't have an answer to -

Mr FERGUSON - I don't.

Ms O'CONNOR - I mean, that's actually not a question of detail in the Budget, that's a policy question about the decision to transfer the maintenance costs from a loss-making GBE into your agency's budget. I'm surprised that as Infrastructure minister, but also as Treasurer, you don't have any line of sight to that decision or a brief on the quantum of roads we're talking about and the likely cost that will be borne by your department now instead of a loss-making GBE?

Mr FERGUSON - I always pride myself on giving factual correct answers to Estimates committees which I have been doing for now nine budgets. I do not have a brief on that. It is possible that you may be referring to roads that were transferred to maintenance for Parks and Wildlife. I do not have advice on that but I will still take the question on notice and do my utmost to have an answer for the committee by the end of our session today, in person. If it takes longer than that I will write back to the committee but I will do my best to do it today. If it turns out to be in Mrs Petrusma's portfolio responsibilities I would suggest that she might be approached with that question as well. I will take it on notice for now.