Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for RESOURCES, Mr ELLIS
The photo published across Australian media outlets of a massive centuries-old eucalypt on the back of a logging truck has caused national outrage, but this is just another day in Tasmania. It was only the accidental filming of this giant tree, over three metres across, that showed the truth to the nation. Your giant tree policy is a sham that does not even protect our largest example of Tasmania's flowering emblem, Lathamus Keep. Seeking FSC sustainability while you are logging remnants with parrot habitat is a false marketing ruse. Protesters are in the Florentine forests again today and will continue to be there. Your destruction of forest cathedrals is a global shame. When will you catch up with public sentiment, take up true sustainability and end logging in native forests?
Mr Speaker, let me be very clear: the member over there wants to shut down Tasmania's sustainable native forest industry and we will have none of it. Our Government supports native forestry and the forest sector because it is worth $1.2 billion to the Tasmanian economy. It is more than 5000 jobs. It gives us the capability to manage hundreds of thousands of hectares of land for fire management, road access, tourism, bee-keeping and other things like that. It is a critical part of Tasmania's future.
Dr Woodruff - What about the giant trees they have been taking out every day?
Mr SPEAKER - Order.
Mr ELLIS - It is the only industry that can provide renewable building materials. It is the only industry that will help us deliver a plastic-free future. Can Dr Woodruff tell me what other industry is providing renewable building material?
Dr Woodruff - Plantation timber.
Mr ELLIS - It is forestry, Mr Speaker. This is what the Greens do not seem to understand.
Dr Woodruff - We are talking about giant trees.
Mr SPEAKER - Order, Dr Woodruff. I am not going to put up with constant interjections. You have asked the question. You will listen to the answer in silence.
Mr ELLIS - Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is a mix of native forest and plantation that will help us deliver the things we need in that space.
Australia is a net importer of timber. Why are we a net importer of timber, despite our outstanding sustainability credentials? It is because every time Labor and the Greens get together, they want to shut down native forestry. They want to shut down an industry that is one of the most sustainable in the world.
These days, you do not even need to vote for the Greens and Labor - you just to need to vote for Labor, as we have seen with Dan Andrews' catastrophic attack on regional communities in Victoria; and with Mark McGowan's catastrophic attack on regional communities in Western Australia. They sell out native forest workers every chance they get, just so they can chase Greens preferences in the cities. We are going to have none of that because we back this industry.
It has been concerning to see federal Labor walk away from commitments around having native forestry as part of bioenergy, or our National Reconstruction Fund, because they are concerned about Greens and left-wing independent preferences in that place.
In Tasmania we remain steadfast. We will keep backing our foresters, despite attacks from the Greens that frankly are anti-science and anti-jobs; that do not account for the fact that a managed forest is a forest forever; that our permanent timber production zone has been a carbon sequestration sink since 1990. That is testament to the work of our foresters. Every time the Greens complain about harvesting in regrowth forests, it is testament to the work of our foresters for generations that they continue to steward -
Dr WOODRUFF - Mr Speaker, point of order, Standing Order 45, relevance. I draw the minister's attention to public sentiment, the majority of which is against native forest logging.
Mr SPEAKER - I accept the relevance of the standing order. I remind the minister of relevance.
Mr ELLIS - I am more than happy to talk about public sentiment, Mr Speaker, because the public backs us every time. We have taken our strong support to the electorate for native forestry, and they have backed us every time. Do you know who they have not backed? The Greens. There are only two of them here. They are not even a proper political party anymore. They chucked them out after they were in government for four years with the Labor Party and they nearly destroyed the forest industry. Public sentiment says very clearly, Dr Woodruff, that they do not want any of your garbage when it comes to native forestry.
We have sensible, sustainable and practical approaches to managing giant trees in Tasmania's forests. The Premier covered this yesterday. Our giant tree policy continues to protect giant trees and to ensure their cultural heritage is recognised and respected as part of that. I mentioned before some significant work that is continuing in that space, with LiDAR detection and other important scientific advances to identify and preserve giant trees. The Greens just want to shut down forestry, and we will always back it.