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Resources – China and Woodchips

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 26 November 2020

Tags: Forest Stewardship Council, Woodchips, Native Forest Logging, China

Ms O'CONNOR - I want to go back to a line of questioning that Dr Broad took up before. I think he asked the wrong question about the relationship between the Australian Government and the Chinese government because it is pretty clear in trade terms, and Tasmania's experiencing the fallout too, that our exporters - and I am agnostic here about what is being exported - are being punished for Australia having the temerity to suggest that there be an independent inquiry into the origins of the pandemic.

It is actually about the decisions of the Chinese government, not about any particular action that Australia has taken. Given that now exports from Australia of beef, barley, wine, and crayfish, whole logs and woodchips from Tasmania have been impacted by the Chinese government's vindictive trade strategy, will you acknowledge that the consequence of that for our non-FSC-certified wood products will be very significant, because there are not many markets in the world outside China that will accept non-FSC-certified wood products? I guess what I am trying to get at here is if there is some forward mapping, because you must foresee significant consequences for the woodchip trade?

Mr BARNETT - With respect to trade with China it is a very important market for Tasmania, for Australia but particularly for Tasmania; it is about 30 per cent of our export market. I am not the Trade minister but Jeremy Rockliff and I were at the launch of our Trade strategy and are very strongly supportive of that strategy to maintain and build our opportunities in China but also to diversify and grow our markets in other areas across Asia, North America, Europe and India. As I say, I am not the relevant minister but I know the importance of that and we back it in. The industry is are working with us on that

I think you asked about woodchips into China and the feedback I am getting is there is not a direct detrimental impact on woodchips.

Ms O'CONNOR - Whole logs.

Mr BARNETT - I am not aware of any direct detrimental impact on woodchips. In terms of whole logs, there has been an impact and we are monitoring that carefully and closely. We are working with the stakeholders here in Tasmania and on the mainland and monitoring it carefully. There has been direct impact in Queensland and other states have had impacts in that regard. Those productive industries are important for Tasmania. That is why we are monitoring the matter very carefully.