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Native Forest Logging


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Tags: Native Forest Logging, Children and Young People, Climate Emergency

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr GUTWEIN

You know from your own Youth Advisory Council, as well as the Commissioner for Children and Young People statewide consultation, that young Tasmanians overwhelmingly want an end to native forest logging. They want that carbon kept in the ground in order for them to have a safe climate future. Following the release of the IPCC sixth assessment report, Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan, announced an end to native forest logging in 2024 together with funding for an accelerated transition to plantations, and the reskilling and redeployment of workers. Premier McGowan said, 'This is a gift to our children, our grandchildren and their grandchildren'.

When will your Government give our children, our grandchildren and their grandchildren this same priceless gift, and end native forest logging and burning on this beautiful island of theirs?

 

ANSWER

Mr Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Greens for her question. The feedback that I am receiving from children around the state is that a level of climate anxiety developing. It is in a large part as a result of some of the extreme language that we hear around this matter -

Ms O'Connor - Where was there extreme language in that question?

Mr GUTWEIN - You mentioned children. You said the feedback was that they wanted us to end native forest logging. I have said there are matters they are raising as well, in terms of their anxiety about this, and some of the extreme language that is used is not helping.

I have made a point, Mr Speaker -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Speaker, I feel that if the Premier is going to get up and say that, he needs to point to the extreme language. There is no extreme language in our question.

Mr SPEAKER - That is not a point of order. The Premier is answering the question.

Dr Woodruff - The inference is that we are using extreme language, and we are not.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr GUTWEIN - Mr Speaker, I would think that any reasonable search of Hansard over time would demonstrate that a range of extreme things have been said in this place -

Dr WOODRUFF - Point of order, Mr Speaker, relevance, standing order 45. Why is the Premier talking about things that have allegedly happened previously in parliament? It has nothing to do with the question at hand.

Mr SPEAKER - That is not a point of order and you know it. The Premier is answering the question.

Mr GUTWEIN - This is the one place where what you say, which I know at times is unfortunate, is captured word for word.

Dr Woodruff - It has nothing to do with the question.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr GUTWEIN - The point I made to the member for Franklin, the Leader of the Greens, is that extreme language about climate emergency or climate crisis is not used in that IPCC report - other than to comment on media reports.

Ms O'Connor - Other than code red. What is a code red?

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr GUTWEIN - I make the point that wood is good, and I support the minister responsible. Sustainable forestry management is part of the solution to climate change, not the opposite. I do not think you should be picking and choosing the science on this. The sustainable forest management approach is reinforced by the IPCC -

Ms O'Connor - No, it's not. You are deliberately misrepresenting it.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr GUTWEIN - Yes, it is. You are cherrypicking the science. Let us put on the record: less than 1 per cent - about 0.27 per cent - of our native forest is harvested. Forestry products from these areas go to the local industry to be manufactured into a range of wood products that we all use in our homes and workplaces. That is important at a time of huge building demand.

I do not agree with the construct of the Leader of the Greens' question -

Ms O'CONNOR - I asked you if you were going to give the kids what they have been asking for.

Mr SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor.

Mr GUTWEIN - I have it put firmly on the record, that when we speak on the matter of climate especially, in this place, we should be proud of where we stand at the moment.

We are a world leader. As I have said, we have a renewable energy base that others in the world can only dream of, and that no-one in this country will ever be close to. We have a carbon store. It is a carbon store that was been paid for by the jobs of Tasmanians a decade ago, and with enormous pain. We are in a very good position today with our emissions profile. We should be proud of the state's response to climate change, and our kids should be proud of that. The rest of the country - the rest of the world - is looking at Tasmania, which at the last report was 108 per cent below the 1990 baseline. Most jurisdictions in the world can only ever dream about achieving that sort of result.

That is why this side of the House is going to consult with industry about a more ambitious target. We have the opportunity to be far more ambitious, and to ensure our businesses are well placed. We have the opportunity to send the message loud and clear to the rest of the country and to the rest of the world - our emissions profile is something we should be proud of, not something we should talk down at every opportunity.