Monday, 15 June 2015
I, and also on behalf of Senator Muir, move:
That the Senate—
(a) acknowledges the valuable contribution of the sustainable forest industry to Australia's economy as the industry generates over $20 billion of economic turnover each year and employs over 70 000 people;
(b) recognises the important work conducted by the Forest and Forest Industry Market Development Mission to Japan and China to promote Australia's sustainable forest industry as the sustainable building material of the 21st century; and
(c) condemns the misinformation spread by radical environmental non governmental organisations that has resulted in sustainable Australian product being replaced by timber from less sustainable forests damaging our economy, employment and the environment.
The Labor Party will start to take the government senators' motions seriously when they stop putting up politically motivated motions seeking to divide the industry. The first act of the Abbott government when it took office was to remove forestry from the name of the agricultural portfolio; and the second was to exclude it from the government's agricultural competitiveness white paper.
Some 18 months after the Abbott government took office, the parliamentary secretary unveiled in March this year that the government would undertake an issues paper to feed into a discussion paper which then may feed into a longer-term policy development.
The forestry industry is seeking certainty and genuine longer-term policy development, not politically motivated motions. Therefore Labor will not be supporting this motion on the grounds that it is seeking to further divide the industry rather than providing a constructive platform from which to have a robust discussion about the future of our forestry industry.