You are here

Tourism – Native Forest Logging

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Monday, 5 June 2023

Tags: Native Forest Logging, State Budget

Ms O'CONNOR - Premier, in response to a question from Mr Tucker last week on plantation forests, you went on a reasonably out of character reconstructed rant and referenced the dozens of people who signed this open letter to you calling for an end to native forest logging after Victoria announced it was ending it and ending the rivers of public money into the industry. You called them a lot of privileged people who do not have to think about where the next dollar comes from.

First of all, you do not know anything about the life histories of any of the signatories. As Tourism minister is that how you would describe tourism operators like, Tara who is on the TICT board, Steve Howell from Blue Derby Pods, Ben Ray from Tasmanian eBike Adventures, Simon French from Maydena Bike Park and Greg Irons from Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary? Do think they are out of touch and privileged?

Mr ROCKLIFF - I am not going to comment of individuals at all, Ms O'Connor.

Ms O'CONNOR - Well, you basically did when you wrote them all off as part of some privileged set.

CHAIR - Ms O'Connor, please let the Premier answer the question.

Mr ROCKLIFF - I did not say 100 per cent of the people there, I am sure I didn't. If I did I stand to be corrected. I was really making the point in comparison to families that have been devastated or are in the midst of being devastating in Victoria as a result of the closure of native forest logging or bringing that earlier from 2030 to 2024. How devastating it is for them. Families have had their lives turned upside down. They will be, at this present time, wondering where their next dollar is going to come from.

Ms O'CONNOR - I understand that and that is why Government has a role in transition.

CHAIR - Ms O'Connor. Please let the Premier answer.

Mr ROCKLIFF - Nothing wrong with expressing a bit of emotion on behalf of hardworking people, albeit in Victoria. I met with many hardworking people between 2010- 14 when we had our forest industry devastated.

Ms O'CONNOR - Don't deflect. You stood up in parliament and you have talked about our positive climate profile, which has come about as a result of the forest saved under the Tasmanian Forest Agreement. Surely you can acknowledge the tourism potential of our forests. We have the biggest trees and best trees in the country. We’re the big tree state. Do you think people come here to see clear fell and burn sites or do you think there is more to be gained in joining what is now a national move, as part of a global move, out of native forest logging? Except for in places like Brazil and the Congo where they still do what we do here.

Mr ROCKLIFF - I do not think you can compare Brazil and the Congo.

Ms O'CONNOR - Yes, you can.

Mr ROCKLIFF - No, you can't.

CHAIR - Ms O'Connor, let the Premier answer, please.

Mr ROCKLIFF - We have a very specialist native timber industry. My view is that people come to Tasmania to experience our wonderful built heritage, our natural environment, our beautiful clean beaches and waters. It is a fundamental part of the attraction. Our tourism industry can co-exist with more traditional resourced-based industries that go about their daily jobs in a very sustainable way in order to protect the longevity of their industry.

Ms O'CONNOR - As you would be aware, Premier, when you talk about sustainability, there’s massive loss of carbon. I don’t know if you’ve read Dr Jen Sanger's report, the one your minister's love to denigrate, a massive loss of carbon, loss of biodiversity, loss of water quality as a result of a native forest logging industry, which does not align with Tasmania's brand.

Mr ROCKLIFF - What I am in favour of is a resourced-based sector that is sustainable whether that be salmon or aquaculture, agriculture, mining and forestry, we can all co-exist, Ms O'Connor, provided we respect the resources that we have. I am a great believer in strong natural resource management, I always have been, given my background - water quality, soil management, sustainable timber harvesting. But also, we can demonstrate to the world how well we do this in Tasmania.

Ms O'CONNOR - One last question on this line of questioning. Premier, as you know we export about 1 million tonnes of native forest woodchips overseas each year, which is a massive climate crime. But, Tourism Tasmania's promotion says, 'Come down for air'. How do you think that aligns with the autumn forestry burns, which not only blight the skies but make people with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions in small regional communities around the state, like Huonville, quite sick? Do you think that Tourism Tasmania's 'Come down for air' campaign has authenticity to it, given the autumn burns by Forestry Tasmania?

Mr ROCKLIFF - I do believe it does have authenticity because it is a very successful campaign, which I can speak about.

Ms O'CONNOR - No, just answer the question rather than reading from a brief. Why don't you just answer the question?

Mr ROCKLIFF - Yes, no, I have.

Ms O'CONNOR - Have you?

Mr ROCKLIFF - 'Come down for air', is a play on words. That is an invitation to come down to Tasmania and take a break from the stress and routine. It is a playful twist on a familiar phrase, which means it is good for retention and people would easily understand and get the concept. Tourism Tasmania's campaigns are more than a tag line. We aim to celebrate Tasmania and Tasmanians. The impact of smoke on tourism operators and event providers, of course, is unfortunate -

Ms O'Connor - It is becoming untenable. What are you doing about it?

CHAIR - Ms O'Connor, can you let the Premier answer the question.

Mr ROCKLIFF - I understand there is a commitment from Sustainable Timbers Tasmania to ongoing engagement with operators around the timing of future burns. Our Government is committed to a policy of the two industries coexisting, what I was talking about before. There are good examples of where this is happening, as I understand it.