Monday, 17 August 2015
Tasmania: Timber Industry
I, and also on behalf of Senator Colbeck and Senator Bushby, move:
That the Senate—
(i) That the Tasmanian specialty timber industry accounts for over 2 000 full time equivalent jobs, thousands more part time hobbyists and contributes over $70 million a year to the state's economy,
(ii) the support of both the Tasmanian Premier (Mr Hodgman) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Green) for the long term sustainability of the iconic specialty timber industry, and
(iii) That the Australian Greens and the Australian Labor Party previously supported the continued low impact harvesting of special species timber in the 2013 extension of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area; and
(b) calls on the Australian Greens to abandon their policy backflip and work with the Tasmanian Government to protect the future of the mostly small scale businesses that produce high value products that embody the essence of Tasmania's culture and history.
The Tasmanian forests agreement signed under the previous Labor government was a significant achievement that ended 30 years of conflict over Tasmania's forests. It was the culmination of significant hard work by industry, conservationists and unions, all of whom agreed to protect important areas, guarantee wood supply and work together to rebuild market confidence in the sustainability of the industry. Australia has international obligations to protect World Heritage areas and looks forward to the World Heritage Committee visit to Tasmania in October this year to discuss concerns regarding the Tasmanian World Heritage area.
Labor will continue to support the implementation of the conditions of the TFA as a future pathway for the forest industry in Tasmania. This includes providing resource security for the iconic special timbers industry under agreed terms. Labor supports this as part of a broad industry plan to achieve the outcomes intended for the TFA. Labor recognises the specialty timbers industry and acknowledges the concerns of that community. Labor has not been able to verify the figures as presented by Senator O'Sullivan, as the ABS and ABARES do not separate specialty timbers from the broader forestry industry. Labor's priority is to balance Australia's responsibility. (Time expired)
The Australian Greens support the protection of the high-conservation-value forests of Tasmania, particularly the areas that are included in World Heritage areas. The Australian Greens have never supported logging occurring in World Heritage areas and the Australian Greens will not support logging of forests in the World Heritage forests of Tasmania.