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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3956..


Amendments agreed to.

Bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

REGIONAL FOREST AGREEMENT FOR SOUTH COAST

MS TUCKER (10.56): I move:

That this Assembly calls on the Chief Minister to write on its behalf to the Premier of New South Wales, the Honourable Bob Carr, requesting that the Regional Forest Agreement for the South Coast:

(1) protects the 15 community reserve proposals developed by the South East Forest Alliance;

(2) supports the development of a local wood products industry based on plantation forests; and

(3) excludes woodchipping of non-plantation forests.

This motion about the south coast forests is of great importance to the people of the ACT. I realise that I may not see that view supported in this place. I am raising this matter here because it is of concern to me that we do not in practice see this place acknowledge the fact that we are part of a bio-region. Acknowledgment is there in rhetoric, but in practice it is way in the background. We know that this issue is of great interest to many residents of the ACT. I hope that it will be of interest to other members of the Assembly when they listen to the statements I am going to make right now and also the statements that, hopefully, will come.

Decisions will soon be made that are of significance to the forests, waterways and coastal areas of the region surrounding Canberra. Under the regional forest agreement process, the new South Wales and Commonwealth governments are about to decide the future of the forest estate, and the forest industry that uses it, in an area from the coast between Nowra and Narooma west to and beyond the Snowy Mountains. This decision will dictate which forests will be protected as national parks, which forests will be logged or woodchipped and how the logging industry, including employment, will be structured.

Every regional forest agreement, or RFA, completed so far in the country, apart from Queensland, has been a failure in the eyes of the public. Witness the community outrage after the recent Western Australian RFA. Purporting to protect environmental values through a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system, and to create a sustainable logging industry with resource security for timber mills, the RFAs have continually failed to provide a sound and visionary plan for a timber industry of the future or to protect the environment to the standards of even the national forest policy statement signed by the federal and all state and territory governments.


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