Tuesday, 25 June 2013
Questions without Notice
I thank Senator Brown for her continued interest in conservation in Tasmania. I was pleased to be in Tasmania to welcome the passage of the forest agreement legislation through the Tasmanian parliament. Why? Because that legislation not only is about the conservation of forestry in Tasmania but also locks in jobs. It is the culmination of an incredible amount of hard work by community representatives, and it will help resolve the debate about the forest industry in Tasmania. It is also a desire from those community representatives to see the twin outcomes of jobs and of conservation of Tasmanian native forests.
The facts are clear. The data has been telling us that the Tasmanian forest industry has been severely impacted by the global financial crisis; by wood products, due to the global financial crisis; by changing market preferences; and by the high dollar. Only a year ago Ta Ann Tasmania announced it was reducing output and reducing staff. On the weekend we saw Ta Ann Tasmania announce its commitment to a secure future for more than 90 direct jobs in the region and for the families and businesses that supply Ta Ann. That is 90 more jobs that have a future that the industry wants and that the coalition are bleating about. The coalition do not want jobs in Tasmania. The agreement was delivering outcomes for Tasmania.
The nomination of the World Heritage listing has seen groups like the Australian Conservation Foundation work with industry in overseas markets, in export markets, to show Tasmanian forest products are sustainable, legally harvested and top quality. I will not ignore the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania which says— (Time expired)