Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for ENVIRONMENT, Mr JAENSCH
The Foreign Investment Review Board has just given a green light for the Brazilian butchers JBS to take over Huon Aquaculture and expand its corporate empire into our precious marine waters. JBS has faced US courts and multiple US EPA cases for violating their clean water act, dumping effluent in Florida, Illinois, Nebraska, Colorado and Texas. It was behind the deforestation of 42 500 hectares of the Amazon's forests and, in Tasmania, JBS was found dumping abattoir waste into Porkys Creek on King Island.
JBS is the last sort of corporate operator we want let loose on our fragile waterways. This takeover is frightening news for fishers and coastal communities who have witnessed the environmental damage already caused by salmon farming. Your EPA has already failed to protect the marine environment from fish farming and your so‑called step to independence seems to the community like window dressing.
Doesn't the fact an environmental vandal like JBS want to expand into our waterways say everything about your Government's regulations? How on earth can you reassure Tasmanians your environmental checks and balances are world's best?
Mr Speaker, I thank the member for Franklin for her question. We are aware of reports that the Foreign Investment Review Board has advised Huon Aquaculture that it has no objections to the proposed acquisition by JBS. I need to stress that we are in a market process here. The shareholders of Huon Aquaculture have decisions to make over coming days and weeks and they need to do that based on their own information.
We welcome foreign investment in Tasmania but we also know that it needs to be balanced with the best interests of our state. We cooperate with and we contribute to the processes and decision‑making that the Foreign Investment Review Board undertakes in the interests of all Australians and we will continue to do that.
For any party wishing to invest in Tasmania and to be part of Tasmania's story, we are proud that Tasmania has a reputation, has a brand that companies from around the world want to be part of and want to participate in. Foreign investment has been very important to building many of the industries that employ Tasmanians right around Tasmania.
Mr JAENSCH - What I can be clear about, if anyone's listening -
Mr JAENSCH - Any company that conducts business in Tasmania is subject to the same rules, to the same requirements for protecting our environment; the same rules of operation for managing their impacts. We are partners in any plans that we have for the future, including in our salmon industry, our new 10-year plan that will be developed over the next 12 months.
Dr Woodruff - You cannot stop the people. People will do what they have to.
Mr SPEAKER - Order, member for Franklin. You know the ramifications for continuing to interject. You have spent a significant amount of time asking the question. It has been heard by the minister. Please allow him to continue his answer without interjection.
Mr JAENSCH - They will be required to work in accordance with our reset policy direction regarding the future of our salmon industry, growing longer on land, further off-shore, the ban on the expansion of the approved marine farming areas in our state waters, with the exception of those areas under research permits now. They will be required to work under the supervision of the even-more-independent EPA that is being separated from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment under our policy direction as of the 1 December and to the internationally peer-reviewed salmon standard which is being developed by the EPA.
Anybody who farms, who invests, who fishes in Tasmania is responsible for operating under our laws and all applicable federal legislation. We will continue to work with industry. We will continue to regulate to protect Tasmania and ensure that our industries are sustainable. We will watch with interest the developments and the decisions of the Huon Aquaculture shareholders over coming days.