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Swift Parrot Habitat

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 27 October 2022

Tags: Swift Parrot, Native Forest Logging

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Speaker, I move -

That the House take note of the following matter: swift parrot habitat.

It is not news that the Liberal Government, ably championed by the Labor Party, continues to subsidise Forestry Tasmania to log critical native forest habitat, which is essential for our climate carbon stores. We know this from the excellent work of Dr Jen Sanger, which has been refuted, which shows that the native forest logging industry in Tasmania has the highest annual emissions of any industry in Tasmania, equivalent to more than one million cars. It is an enormous contribution to keeping our climate safe and ought to be protected just for that reason alone.

It is not even news that the forests that are logged are precious habitat for communities of eucalyptus and rainforest species that provide essential habitat for the beautiful wildlife that live among them, but what is news is the report today - 'Swift parrots still in crisis: the ongoing conservation paralysis', work that is done by the Bob Brown Foundation's Action For Earth and the more than 90 people who spent last summer in the forest as citizen scientists, documenting the destruction that is occurring on a daily basis by Forestry Tasmania, paid for by taxpayers.

What this report shows is that since 2019, 2250 hectares of critical habitat for swift parrot, feeding as well as nesting habitats, have been utterly destroyed, effectively demolished with clear-fell cable-logging by Forestry Tasmania. It has had a catastrophic cost to the critically-endangered swift parrot and its survival. There have been other species that are also critically affected, especially the endangered masked owl, the grey goshawk, also endangered, and the spotted quoll. These are just some of the iconic species but the whole breadth of diversity in those beautiful forests is being lost forever by Forestry Tasmania's continued destruction. Through satellite surveillance, acoustic recordings, visual observations, photography and night time footage, this report shows without a shadow of a doubt the destruction of the swift parrot breeding area, and logging which is occurring right now in the north-eastern Tiers.

Citizen scientists in the forest are recording and documenting flocks of swift parrots coming to Tasmania. Right now, that beautiful jewel of a bird is coming here as it does every year from September to February. It flies from the southern states of Australia, it migrates here to seek refuge in its home for breeding and feeding, and birthing chicks that become fledglings and fly off to have a life of their own. They give us such joy when we see those fast little parrots flying overhead. They are red, green and brown. Their babies are bright lime green with beautiful orange necks. They have red beaks and they are absolutely delightful. They are a gift to us from the universe for us to experience.

What we have is a Government, under Jeremy Rockliff as Premier, with 9700 hectares of known swift parrot habitat listed for logging on the Forestry Tasmania's three-year plan, 2020-22. They are identified for the chop. Citizen scientists have done the work that the Forest Practices Authority ought to be doing. What this report shows in the most gut wrenching way is that the regulatory body that ought to be standing up and protecting these critically endangered, endangered, rare, threatened species, is failing at every level. It is not just failing, it is colluding. It is covering up what Forestry Tasmania is doing. It is a cabal of Forestry Tasmania and the FPA who provide cover so that people in the community continue to mistakenly believe that this Government gives any concern for protecting critically endangered or any of our native species. It clearly does not.

The Labor Party has done nothing at the federal level. Of course, at the state level they are supporting everything that is happening in the logging industry. Tanya Plibersek has talked big about putting the critically-endangered swift parrot on a highly protected species list but has done nothing. Meanwhile we have 9700 hectares and the pictures of destruction of what is happening in the Eastern Tiers. People should really have a look for themselves because the photographs of the demolished landscape, compared to what an intact forest looks like, brings tears to my eyes, it certainly did. It is environmental vandalism writ large.

They have documented cable-loggers leaving steep slopes completely deforested, with topsoil layers prone to severe erosion. Not only are they removing habitat for critically endangered species, they are trashing the joint. It is a disgusting way to treat a landscape, taking trees off such steep slopes. Eucalypts documented with diameters of 2.5 metres to 4.9 metres have also been identified in that place. We have seen the recordings in the report. There are pictures of recordings of chicks in trees which are logged or slated for logging. This is vandalism. It is being supported by the Liberals and the Labor party also supports it. I pay my respects and thanks to the 90 individuals who stood up. They are back in the forests, and they will stay there until it stops.