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Please Explain Minister Barnett?

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Tags: Tasmanian Forest Agreement


You are threatening to allow loggers into the 400 000 hectares of high conservation value forests that were independently verified and set aside under the Tasmanian Forest Agreement. In its advice to you, as the Treasurer tabled yesterday, the Forestry Tasmania board makes no mention of the moratorium forests, making a lie of your original statement in Parliament that it was on the basis of advice from FT that the Government had decided it may need to go into the 400 000 hectares.

Madam SPEAKER - Order. The member will rephrase, not using the word 'lie'. It can only be made by substantive motion to this House so that members are able to debate that type of allegation.

Ms O'CONNOR - I am seeking clarification, Madam Speaker. I did not call the minister a liar. I said his statement made a lie of.

Madam SPEAKER - No, you are insinuating that he is. I am ruling that should be done by way of substantive motion. For too long members have been throwing around these allegations in questions. I am not going to continue to put up with it. Members can make that allegation another way in the House.

Ms O'CONNOR - Do not worry, we will. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

It made a farce of your original statement in Parliament that it was on the basis of advice from FT that the Government had decided it may need to go into the 400 000 hectares. Did you mislead Parliament? The FT board does not want to log the reserve forests, key industry players are not backing you, the Forest Industries Association does not support you, and you have not provided a shred of evidence or documentation to back up your stated position. Why don't you be up-front with Tasmanians. Your threat to log the 400 000 hectares of HCV carbon rich forests is a political ploy, pure and simple, designed to create conflict in the lead-up to the next election.



Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. There is a clear reference by the member in her question to the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, which locked up so much of Tasmanian and which was put to the election. What did the Tasmanian people decide? They decided it should be torn up and a majority Liberal Government would lead this state, ensuring the future and growth for the forest sector in Tasmania.

This Government acted, bringing forward legislation which was passed through this Parliament to establish future potential production forest. This future potential production forest is production forest. It has been referred to as high conservation value by the Greens. The claim that the FPPF land is high conservation value comes from the discredited TFA, which was thrown out by the Tasmanian people. The submission from one of our leading conservation scientists, Dr Simon Grove, to this Parliament in 2012 exposes the TFA as a sham. Dr Grove knows what he is talking about. He is a PhD in forest ecology, has a masters degree in forestry and its relation to land use, and a science degree.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. I am wondering if Standing Order 96 applies. Answers shall be relevant to the question. I asked the minister, in relation to advice from the FT board, what justification there was for going to the 400 000 hectares, or is it just a political ploy which people are seeing through.

Madam SPEAKER - The member is attempting to rephrase the question. The minister can resume his answer.

Mr BARNETT - The submission from Dr Grove to the Legislative Council select committee on the TFA bill 2012 described the bill as fatally flawed. He said:

The reservation proposal at its heart arose from the gross abuse of conservation science. The initial reserve selection process and subsequent validation exercises were parodies of due scientific process, designed to deliver a preconceived outcome, conforming to an essentially political agenda.

That is what it was, a political agenda from the other side, where Labor sold their soul to appease the Greens.

In the advice provided by the Forestry Tasmania chair to the shareholder minister, Peter Gutwein and myself on 29 September - you have not read the advice, or you are not listening to what I and others have been saying - the last point, on page 6, makes it very clear:

The Government reviews the appropriateness of the legislative requirement to make 137 000 cubic metres available from public forest, noting that a whole of state management regime could, with legislative amendment, allow private wood to be sourced and utilised to meet the 137 000 cubic metres.

It makes it clear that one of the options for the Government is to look at the whole of the forest estate, which includes the Future Potential Production Forest. Our vision for the future of the forest industry is the involvement of the private sector, which has been neglected. The Greens want to shut it down.

The private sector will be involved in providing for the future sawlog requirements of the processes. We do not want to see the cutback, the job losses of an estimated 700, based on one option; 700 jobs would be lost, particularly in rural and regional Tasmania. We want to maintain and will abide by this legislative requirement. It is based on advice from FT. It is based on good management and it is based on ensuring the jobs of rural and regional Tasmanians and the future of their families.