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Resources – Leatherwood

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 26 November 2020

Tags: Leatherwood, Native Forest Logging

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, I want to take you to a motion that was put to the Liberal Party state conference by the North West Primary Industries Branch. This was a motion that I understand you didn't speak to, although it relates specifically to your area of policy responsibility in resources. It's a motion that relates to the leatherwood resource for beekeepers in Tasmania. We know that there has been failures on your Government's part and Forestry's part to ensure that leatherwood stands within coups are adequately protected so there's sufficient honey. The Liberal Party has been asked at its conference - and I will read this one section -

To ensure the retention of the remaining stands of our state's leatherwood tree resources, we request an immediate moratorium, halt, to any clear-felling of future timber production zone coupes in our Tasmanian rainforests that have 10 per cent or more by number of the Tasmanian leatherwood tree species within them until such time as the proposed review has been completed and these revised guidelines, if any, have been incorporated into the Forest Practices Code.

What is your response to the Liberal Party's North West Primary Industries Branch who wants to see a moratorium, an immediate moratorium on clear-felling of PTPZ land that has 10 per cent or more rainforest in it?

Mr BARNETT - It's a lengthy question in many parts and, of course, in the usual -


Mr BARNETT - course of events the Government will respond to those motions that are passed or considered at state council, as would be a normal process. You've asked about leatherwood management on PTPZ land. You haven't made any reference to the Wilderness Society's Op-ed in the newspaper today on leatherwood.

Ms O'CONNOR - No, I haven't.

Mr BARNETT - I thought you might.

Ms O'CONNOR - No, I'm here asking about your members' position.

Mr BARNETT - The Tasmanian Beekeepers Association has a memorandum of understanding with Sustainable Timber Tasmania on how our timber harvesting is managed and that has been consummated -

Ms O'CONNOR - They're forming the view it's not worth the paper it's written on.

Mr BARNETT - That agreement has been consummated and the Government supports that.

Ms O'CONNOR - Then abandoned, effectively.

CHAIR - Ms O'Connor, the minister is attempting to answer your question. I ask that you allow him to do answer it.

Mr BARNETT - We have worked very hard. The Government supports the bee industry in Tasmania and the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association with some $750 000 worth of support. This morning I had contact with Lindsay Bourke, the president of the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association. Please feel free to make contact with Lindsay Bourke to provide feedback and comment. He is pleased with the relationship with Sustainable Timber Tasmania and the way the production forest land is managed and getting access to that production forest land.

The question for the Greens would be, do you support access to World Heritage Areas for our bee industry? The Government does everything it can to support the bee industry gaining access to those areas that are available. The bees are not disappearing, based on advice from Lindsay Bourke. Their industry is appreciative of the Government's support last year. We funded support for a part-time industry development officer for the Beekeepers Association. We are not losing our bees, as it was put in the op-ed today the Wilderness Society. In fact, they are growing. The number of beekeepers and the beehives across Tasmania is also growing. They are sounding very positive.

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, I asked you about the formal request from your own members in the north west primary industries branch, who I am sure you know many of, for an immediate moratorium on logging in PTPZ land which contains 10 per cent or so of rainforest, in order to protect the leatherwood coups. Are you saying you are not going to act on this request for an immediate moratorium on those particular areas in PTPZ land in order to protect the leatherwood resource for the beekeepers in the future?

Mr BARNETT - There is no greater supporter of our bee industry in Tasmania than the Government. We have backed that up with funding support and with funding support for a part-time officer. We have close contact and discussions with the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association. We meet with them and have contact with them and communicate with them from time to time, as recently as this morning. If you want further information and advice in terms of their views please make contact.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Chair. Standing on 45 - relevance. I have asked the same question twice about a moratorium.

CHAIR - The minister hasn't finished responding to your question, Ms O'Connor, so I ask that you allow the minister to respond. You know it is not a point of order. What he is saying is relevant so can you please let him finish.

Ms O'CONNOR - But he has been asked it twice and hasn't answered it yet.

CHAIR - Can you please let him finish?

Mr BARNETT - Let me finish answering that question. The question clearly relates to the role and operation of Sustainable Timber Tasmania that operates our production forest land, PTPZ land. They have an MOU with the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association -

Ms O'CONNOR - It relates to the Liberal Party's state conference.

CHAIR - Order, Ms O'Connor.

Mr BARNETT - That information is very important. You will have an opportunity to ask STT in a few weeks' time their views and their response to your questions.

Ms O'CONNOR - It is a policy question about a moratorium.

Mr BARNETT - The Government supports STT and the MOU being drafted and is now in place with the Beekeepers Association. We think it is excellent. I supported it when it was consummated.

Ms O'CONNOR - It has changed nothing. You are now not backing a moratorium as your own members have requested.

CHAIR - Thank you, Ms O'Connor.