Senate debates

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Regulations and Determinations

Industry Research and Development (Forestry Recovery Development Fund Program) Instrument 2020; Disallowance

6:38 pm

Photo of Bridget McKenzieBridget McKenzie (Victoria, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

The hypocrisy is actually mind-boggling here tonight—absolutely! This is actually what the Greens are arguing for: we have one of the most ultimately renewable industries in our sustainable Australian forestry industries, employing over 200,000 Australians right across the country, contributing $24 billion to our economy, a renewable and sustainable, well-managed, world-class industry, and they want to stop it. You know why they want to stop it? Because the foresters in our regional communities do not vote for them, because they want to ensure that foresters and their families have no future.

This illogical disallowance motion only reinforces what rural and regional Australia already knows: the Greens are anti-agriculture, anti-farming, anti-forestry and also anti-fishing—aren't you? Oh, yes! Let us not actually harvest the bounty of the sea in a sustainably managed way! It isn't about raping and pillaging; it is about using science and data to set up a regime where we manage these resources appropriately for the benefit not only of the people who work in these industries but of the regional communities that support them and, indeed, of the world.

The hypocrisy is mind-boggling, again, because the Greens are in here arguing to shut down our sustainable forestry industry every chance they get. Where will we get our timber products from? Will we get them from other countries that do not have the environmental regulation that our industries are rightfully governed by? To get up in this place, time and time again, and assume that either party of government is not really interested in ensuring good environmental outcomes through our forestry industry is an absolute misrepresentation of the truth. Do you know what happens if you don't use the highly regulated Australian timber products? Where do we get them from? It's a bit like saying, 'Don't eat beef, because it's bad for the environment.' Where do you think people will get their protein sources from? Will they get them from other countries, where rainforests are being denigrated and orangutans are threatened species, where there are land-clearing laws to ensure that they grow protein through beef farming, when here, in our country, we do it in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner? Instead of knocking Australians and their hard work and knocking these industries and communities, the Greens should be standing up and saying, 'Thank God I live in Australia, and I'm very proud of our forestry industry.'

Yesterday, I had a few people here from the forest industry for my private senator's bill, which I'm glad the senator mentioned in her contribution. It seeks to amend the EPBC Act to remove the ambiguity and to ensure that the relationship and arrangement between Commonwealth and state governments for the last 20 years, through regional forestry agreements, is not able to be overridden by activist justices that just ignore the regulatory framework of any given state. I had foresters come from Eden, Gippsland—and a big shout-out to Heyfield and Bairnsdale, and the McNultys in Benalla, because they care about their children's future. I always hear, 'Why don't you care about your children's future?' I actually do care about my children's future. I am the daughter of—


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