Senate debates

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Regulations and Determinations

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

6:53 pm

Photo of Jonathon DuniamJonathon Duniam (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries) Share this | Hansard source

Let's go and have a look at the Heyfield mill. Let's go and actually talk to the people you are denigrating through this motion, claiming that we are propping up an ailing industry. It's an industry that those who work in it should be very, very proud of. So, while imploring colleagues here to vote against this disallowance, I implore Senator Rice to come and work with me. Come and work with Senator Urquhart; Senator Ciccone; Senator Scarr; Senator Molan, who I spent last Friday with talking to bushfire affected communities; and all of my colleagues here. Work with us, those who are pro-forestry and who actually deal in science. Contrary to the fact—

Opposition senators interjecting—

Let's talk about science while we're on this matter. It was asserted a couple of Senate estimates ago that 20 per cent of all of the forests in Australia had burnt in the bushfires. In fact, as we know, Senator Rice, 20 per cent of a certain biome was affected, not the entire forest estate. It's dangerous assertions like that—like those prefaced with the words 'We know X happened.' I've seen the Greens in this parliament do it all the time. They speak with authority, claiming something to be true, and there could be a kernel of truth in there, but you get to the end of the sentence and there's a little asterisk: 'Terms and conditions apply. Don't dig too deep.' We only have to look at the science that was claimed to be proof positive that forestry operations in this country increased the risk and severity of bushfires. Well, of course, as we know, that paper—from some scientists in Tasmania—was withdrawn because it was found to be riddled with errors. This is the thing. Let's talk in facts. Let's talk science. Come and talk to the people who are in the industry who are proud of the brand they have.

Primary producers—Senator McKenzie mentioned a whole heap of them—rely on a good brand. They don't want to trash it. You guys are doing a good enough job of that by peddling falsehoods. 'Propping up an ailing industry'—we are one of the best in the world. As I say, come on out to the country communities that actually support what we do. The timber in this chamber did not fall out of the sky, Senator Rice—through you, Mr President. It was harvested sustainably.


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