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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 1768 ..

MS HORODNY (continuing):

This issue has been a political hot potato for over two decades now and is becoming increasingly so as the community realises that we have lost so much of nature in the last 20 years because of the ravages of woodchip-driven logging. Reliable surveys have shown time and again that the Australian community want to protect our forests and understand that existing plantations can supply all of our needs. What this means is that we do not have to begin planting plantations. Thank goodness for that, because we do not have the time to be starting on this alternative. We already have one million hectares of pine across Australia and almost 150,000 hectares of eucalypt plantations in the ground now. In fact, we already rely on these plantations to a very large extent and will increasingly continue to do so. The majority of our timber needs - sawn timber, plywood, veneers, medium-density hardboards and pulp - already come from plantations.

The Federal Government must take a strong stand on this issue and the ACT Government must act to send a powerful message to the Federal Labor Party, asking them not to renew export woodchip licences. Here in the ACT this Government must ensure that it does not contribute to this eco disaster in any further way, by implementing immediately a government policy of no further forest products and ensuring the continued viability of the plantation sector and the recycling industry. Further to that, we must not inadvertently contribute financially to the very companies which make a huge profit from a public asset which the overwhelming majority of Australians want protected. Woodchipping is dead. It costs us money, it costs us jobs, and is quickly costing us our remaining native forests.

MR BERRY (10.43): Mr Speaker, I have circulated an amendment to the motion which has been moved by Ms Horodny and I will deal with the amendment during the course of the debate. In the opening paragraph of Ms Horodny's motion she talks about recognition of the fact that the plantation section of the Australian timber industry is supplying the vast majority of our domestic timber. I think "vast majority" may be a little bit of an overstatement; but we have still to recognise it, and whether we like it or not there is harvesting of sawlogs from native forests. At the same time, I think that will continue, but there are many forces at work to reduce the consumption of those sorts of timber products. So, the first amendment that I would move would be to that first paragraph. I would argue that we acknowledge that there are forces working towards the supply of our total domestic timber needs from the plantation industry. I think that is a very important goal that ought to be recognised.

I also say in the amendment that this Assembly welcomes moves where, by the year 2000, no woodchip exports will be permitted from native forests except from areas covered by regional forest agreements. The Commonwealth is working with the States to establish these regional forest agreements, and that is an important national trust. I refer to a document headed "The future of our forest" from the forest task force. The range of Commonwealth obligations relating to forests to be assessed in the regional forest agreements includes National Estate values, World Heritage values, Aboriginal heritage values, environmental impacts and protection of endangered species and biological diversity. These environmental and heritage assessments will form an integral part of the development of a comprehensive, adequate and representative forest reserve system and the agreements reached on an appropriate management and monitoring arrangement outside these reserves.

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