Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for PRIMARY INDUSTRIES and WATER, Mr BARNETT
The communities of Tasman Peninsula, the southern beaches, Clarence, Bruny Island and the Derwent estuary presented across days of public hearings to the Marine Farming Planning Review Panel about the Storm Bay expansion. The substantial evidence highlighted the limited science and the risk of 40 000 tonnes of salmon in Storm Bay causing damage to the marine environment. The expansion would generate nearly six times the sewage load of the Derwent River. The communities put in substantial submissions to Storm Bay but did not even get a response from the panel. The two panel scientists with expertise in fish health, environmental management and biosecurity resigned after the panel's recommendation was made. Why did they resign and will you table the letter with their reasons?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question because it allows me the opportunity to mention again the importance of our salmon industry, which the Greens continue to undermine. They are supporting a protest at the fish markets in Sydney next year, and you are in support. Shame on you because you are undermining not just the Tasmanian brand but the 5000 direct and indirect jobs in the salmon industry across rural and regional Tasmania. That is typical of the Greens; it is a pathological hatred for the productive industries. They have form.
I have confidence in the panel. I have met with the chair. I have received a letter of resignation from the two panel members referred to by the member for Franklin and have responded directly to them in writing. I responded almost immediately after I received the letter last week. When I received that letter I responded as swiftly as possible. I have secured a meeting with the secretary of the department to go through their reasons for that and the secretary will no doubt meet with them. I am looking forward to that meeting and seeking that feedback as soon as possible. What more could you do?
I also met with the chairman last week and have been reassured of the important role of the panel. I put on record my clear thanks to the panel for their work.
Dr WOODRUFF - Point of order, Madam Speaker, going to relevance. The community is deeply concerned at this corrupt process. We have to remember that the previous minister was dismissed during that period. We had the director of the EPA -
Ms Archer - This is a debate. It is not a point of order.
Madam SPEAKER - Thank you, Attorney-General. It is my call whether it is point of order.
Dr WOODRUFF - shuffled across to the head of the department. There is a whole stink around this process, a two-month delay, and people have a right to know why they resigned.
Madam SPEAKER - Thank you but it is not a point of order.
Mr BARNETT - Thank you, Madam Speaker. There was mention of the former minister. I thank both former ministers for their leadership and support of the salmon industry. Ms Courtney and Mr Rockliff have been determined to grow the salmon industry in a sustainable way. We have an independent review process. That process was put in place, it has been acted upon.
With respect to Storm Bay, the Government accepted -
Dr Woodruff - Why did they resign? The best ones left.
Madam SPEAKER - Order.
Mr BARNETT - I am trying to answer the question, the part thereof, with respect to Storm Bay. I am trying my best. The Government accepted the independent review panel's recommendations on applications by Huon Aquaculture and Tassal to amend the two marine farming development plans on Storm Bay. What does that mean for Tasmania? It means up to 180 additional jobs. The Greens are determined to fight -
Dr WOODRUFF - Point of order, Madam Speaker. Standing order 25 - this is a total abuse of the House's processes. The minister is not even pretending to be relevant to the question. It was a direct question. Either answer or sit down.
Madam SPEAKER - You have made your point, Dr Woodruff. It is still not a point order. Minister, would you like to resume?
Mr BARNETT - Thank you, Madam Speaker. In conclusion, the independent Marine Farm Planning Review Panel is in place and doing its job. The Government accepted the recommendations on Huon Aquaculture and Tassal in Storm Bay. I was asked about Storm Bay. I mentioned that 180 additional jobs will flow. Why are the Greens so opposed to the jobs?
The big question to conclude on is why there has been silence from the Labor Party. Why are they not calling out the Greens for their criticism and attacks on the salmon industry? Where is Labor on salmon? They have nothing to say. They are in cahoots with the Greens.