Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr GUTWEIN
In a landmark decision last week, the Federal Court found VicForests, Victoria's forestry corporation, is not exempt from national environmental laws in its logging of threatened species habitat. Here, independent scientists have confirmed your Government's forestry business is clear felling and burning endangered swift parrot, masked owl and wedge-tailed eagle habitat. This is why your GBE has repeatedly failed to secure FSC certification: it is logging old forests that provide critical feeding and breeding habitat for species already pushed to the brink of extinction.
Has your Government sought advice on the implications of the Federal Court decision for Tasmania? In thinking about a truly sustainable future for this state, will you rediscover the old Peter Gutwein, who rightly and courageously called for an end to old growth logging in Tasmania?
Madam Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Greens for that question, which I was certain she would get around to at some stage in terms of the decision in the Federal Court. We are aware of the Federal Court decision concerning VicForests and the Friends of Leadbeater's Possum. As most people would know, it is a complex case. The Federal Court ruling is specific to the Victorian situation which has a different set of circumstances to Tasmania. I have strong faith in our Regional Forestry Agreement and the work our industry does to protect our wildlife during their operations.
The Government recognises especially, our forestry industry is a corner stone of our Tasmanian economy. It employs thousands of people and injects more than $1.2 billion into our economy whilst supporting regional communities and families. Our forest management systems and code are quite different from Victoria's and the processes by which threatened species are managed are also quite different.
The complex and detailed 430-page judgment is being reviewed at the moment. Regarding the Victorian decision we have a strong long-term Regional Forestry Agreement which provides certainty to a renewable sustainable forestry industry and a recognised world-class forest practices system administered by an in independent Forest Practices Authority that delivers ecologically and environmentally sustainable forest management for the benefit of the state, the industry and, importantly, our community.
In answer to the question, yes, I am aware of it. We are taking advice on it.