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Resources - Swift Parrot

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 9 September 2021

Tags: Native Forest Logging, Swift Parrot, State Budget

Ms O'CONNOR - When you talk about the industry being worth $1.2 billion, you are conveniently not mentioning the massive subsidies that have been poured into the native forest logging industry, but I'll move on.

I want to talk to you about the fate of the swift parrot.

Mr BARNETT - I am happy to answer the questions about that allegation, which is wrong.

Ms O'CONNOR - I didn't ask a question.

Mr BARNETT - Were you giving a speech?

Ms O'CONNOR - No, I was making an observation. You blow up this number about the industry's value without talking about the subsidies.

CHAIR - Move onto your next question, Ms O'Connor.

Ms O'CONNOR - I'd like to know how much subsidies there are?

Mr BARNETT - Sustainable Timber Tasmania has been sustainable for the last three years. It has been in the black. Prior to that, 10 years in the red.

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, last year in Forestry GBE hearings, as a result of the Greens' questioning, we clarified that your Governments claim it was setting aside 10 000 hectares for the swift parrots protection was actually not true, that’s its 9300 hectares. Can you confirm that now logging is happening in those 9300 hectares? What is Forestry Tasmania's plan to protect the swift parrot, which is as we know from the ANU research is down to 300 individual birds and has been the primary reason that Forestry Tasmania has not been able to secure FSC certification?

Mr BARNETT - There are a quite a few operational matters in those questions which are a matter of STT later in the year. During the campaign we committed $1 million over four years for swift parrot recovery actions. That funding will allow the Government build upon previous work undertaken which the member referred to in her question to address key threats to the swift parrot and its habitat.

As the swift parrot is a migratory bird, it is also critical that recovery actions are co-ordinated across jurisdictions. Officers from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment have been working closely with Australian Government counterparts on the National Recovery Plan. The updated National Recovery Plan is required because of the recognition of the threat to the swift parrot posed by the sugar glider.

Ms O'CONNOR - And habitat loss from forestry.

Mr BARNETT - We know from the scientific evidence that sugar gliders prey on incubating female swift parrots and their eggs. This makes the sugar glider the most significant and immediate threat to swift parrots.

The Government has taken action to mitigate the threat of the sugar glider. For example, in 2018 the Government invested $150 000 in an innovative trial of management techniques to trap sugar gliders in swift parrot habitat. Upon successful completion of this trial, NRM south were able to secure an additional $700 000 in funding from the Australian Government for this important work. I want to thank the Australian Government for that support.

Other threats to the swift parrot include habitat loss, collision mortality, competition of introduced species, fire and climate change.