Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE Mr GUTWEIN
As a shareholder minister in the loss-making Sustainable Timber Tasmania, you would have been briefed on the auditor's damning February assessment, of your forestry GBE's bid for Forest Stewardship Certification. You would have seen the audit report, about six months before it was released late last Friday, while journalists were in a pre-budget briefing. The auditor rejected STT's application for FSC on the basis of major non-conformities with the Forest Stewardship Standard for sustainability.
The auditors knew about STT's greenwashing move to not log in less than 10 000 hectares of swift parrot habitat, and were clear in their report that it will not save the species. In fact, they were clear that as long as your Government continues to log the habitat of threatened and endangered species, like the swift parrot, masked owl, and Tasmanian devil, it will not be eligible for FSC.
Do you agree that your Government's forestry policy is not only driving species to extinction and releasing vast quantities of carbon into the atmosphere, it is doomed to perpetually fail to secure FSC unless you change course?
Madam Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Greens for that question and her interest in this particular matter.
Ms O'Byrne - I think it is okay because you are the only one touching it.
Mr GUTWEIN - No. Mr Barnett, I am sure, wishes he was here answering this. The first thing he would say would be 'wood is good'.
Ms O'Connor - That is why we asked you. We want an answer.
Mr GUTWEIN - Wood is good. In response to the member's question, Tasmanians can be proud of our responsible, sustainable forest management system. The Government's commitment is to continually improve practices while supporting the sector which employs thousands of Tasmanians and injects more than $1.2 billion into our economy, supporting regional communities and families, as the member would be well aware.
Sustainable Timber Tasmania's Forest Management System is certified to Responsible Woods Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management, formerly known as the Australian Forestry Standard. This certification is recognised at the international level led by the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), and a requirement demanded by many of Sustainable Timber Tasmania's customers and consumers.
In addition, both the Government and Board of Sustainable Timber Tasmania are committed to achieving FSC certification and aim to be dual certified under two internationally recognised certification schemes.
Sustainable Timber Tasmania has now publicly released the recent FSC Audit Report. This notes that STT met 93 per cent of the indicators required to achieve certification - 93 per cent - and demonstrated an ethos of responsible management for, and stewardship of, a robust array of values and resources, which is good news.
Madam SPEAKER - Order, I ask the Greens to refrain from interjection, please.
Mr GUTWEIN - Importantly, Sustainable Timber Tasmania has already taken action to start to address the issues raised. These include the actions in terms of the landmark agreement between Sustainable Timber Tasmania and DPIPWE to implement a Swift Parrot Public Authority Management Agreement, the PPAMA agreement for the Southern Forest. The agreement proactively protects the important species by excluding 10 000 hectares of swift parrot nesting habitat from wood production. Sustainable Timber Tasmania is also developing a swift parrot management plan for public production forests, and STT is proactively implementing procedures to better manage old-growth forest, particularly during bushfires, continue the transition to harvesting regrowth and plantation forests and refine the approach to old-growth management.
We understand there is still further work to do and Sustainable Timber Tasmania is committed to getting on with the job. The FSC auditors will return again within the next two years and the Government is confident that the proactive actions taken by this Government and STT will stand us in good stead in terms of certification.