House debates

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Constituency Statements


4:15 pm

Photo of Damian DrumDamian Drum (Nicholls, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

DRUM (—) (): The issue that I wish to raise this afternoon has to do with the supply of timber in Australia, and certainly in Victoria and Western Australia. Court injunctions and industry uncertainty in Victoria—driven by the state Labor government's early move to limit access to timber, a decade ahead of its 2030 ban on native timber harvesting—are already stopping the supply of new logs.

We are now faced with the absurd situation of serious disruptions to not only the building industry but the entire supply chain. It's even going down now to wooden pallets, which are making exports unavailable simply because we cannot use the forklifts to pick up our produce. With this disruption, we are really going to have an incredible, incredible problem.

Obviously, the state Labor government in Western Australia has caved to green pressure by banning native logging forests from 2024. But Australia's total imports of products continue to increase. Whilst we have the opportunity to be self-sufficient here in Australia when it comes to timber products, we choose not to be self-sufficient, and we put these ridiculous bans on using our own forests in a sustainable manner. We have possibly the most highly regulated forests for sustainable harvesting and thinning. We put a ban through that, and we then have to go and import to look after the demand of timber into Australia—into Victoria.

We've got a huge demand for housing. Housing demand has risen by about 22 per cent. We've got a huge demand for timber and furniture products. We have the capacity to do it ourselves and become self-sustaining, and in Victoria, with the Labor government, Daniel Andrews's government, we are choosing not to do that.

The consequence of us not doing that is that we have to import this timber from countries that have heavily unregulated timber-harvesting agendas. What happens now? We used to get most of our wood from New Zealand and Canada. We now get most of our timber products from China. Of course, China don't use their own forests. China go and get their timber products from Russia, from Brazil and from Indonesia, and they sell them on to Australia. We go to Bunnings and we get these timber products, but we have the capacity to provide all of this housing and all of this furniture—to do it all ourselves here in Australia, using the most sustainable practices. We are choosing not to do that. We're choosing to go and rape some other forest in Malaysia, Indonesia or Brazil—

Photo of Lucy WicksLucy Wicks (Robertson, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Nicholls should withdraw that remark.

Photo of Damian DrumDamian Drum (Nicholls, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I withdraw that remark. We're intending to go and pillage all these other forests in countries that have very little regulation and simply have a net negative environmental impact.