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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 1834 ..

Timber Industry

MS HORODNY (4.39): I would like to speak briefly about the timber industry and the importance of bringing in industry restructuring, transitions, solutions and win-win situations. It is not a new thing in this country for us to see major restructuring in some of our larger industries. The textile industry and manufacturing industry, particularly the car industry, have gone through some of these major upheavals in the past 10 years, to the benefit of all Australians, and certainly to the benefit of the products that they produce. There is absolutely no reason why the timber industry, right now, should not be going through a similar sort of restructuring, particularly when the work has been done on precisely how this restructuring would occur. The alternatives exist, and that is the absolute beauty of this whole transition strategy.

The green movement and the economists and ecologists out there are not suggesting that a whole industry come to a standstill, that workers be put out of work and that timber supplies be stopped. The beauty of this whole transition is that there is an alternative source available right now for the industry and for the community to be relying on. Judy Clark's plantations report did precisely this sort of work. She went State by State around the country looking at what resources we have; how many hectares we have of the various types of tree plantations; at what stage of coming on line they were; and what sorts of industries were being planned in different areas based on those plantations.

In Bombala, for instance, where there is always a great outcry about timber workers being put out of work, CSR is planning a big softwood mill in that region. The workers that would be put out of work by native forest logging being stopped would immediately be employed to harvest that softwood plantation and to work in the mill that CSR is even now planning to put in there in the next 12 to 18 months. The $53m that the Federal Government has set aside for regional forest agreements is exactly the sort of money that needs to go into restructuring this industry, into retraining some of the workers and into relocating others. Bombala is a wonderful example. The native forest supply is on one side of the road and all you have to do is cross the road and the plantation resource is right there. The beauty of this whole debate is that it is a win-win situation for our forests, for our workers and for economics in this country.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Assembly adjourned at 4.42 pm

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