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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3957 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

The RFA for southern New South Wales is likely to be no different. Due to be completed by March 2000, its formula is the same as for every other RFA in the country. It will likely see logging intensified in many of the most important forest areas and waterways on the south coast. Already New South Wales State Forests - the Forestry Commission - and the logging industry are proposing to double the volume of wood taken from these forests, with much going to the Daishowa woodchip mill or proposed to be burnt for energy. Incredibly, burning the forests for energy is being promoted as green energy, despite the negative impact on carbon and the greenhouse effect of woodchipping and burning old-growth forests and despite the destruction of wildlife and forest ecosystems involved.

Access to all these areas for logging and woodchipping will be guaranteed for 20 years under the resource security component of the RFA. This means that the fragile coastal environment of the south coast is likely to suffer increased damage from logging for 20 years. Waterways like the magnificent Clyde River will be polluted by siltation, and woodchipping operations will expand.

The south coast relies on tourism for much of its economic income. Tourism generates over $500m per year and employees over 6,000 people. The region is the most heavily forested coastal area in the State, providing magnificent scenery, clean waterways and fantastic biodiversity. This is a fact recognised by many Canberrans who travel to the south coast each year for their holidays. In fact, the Eurobodalla Shire names itself the "Eurobodalla Nature Coast" due to its reliance on this natural environment for its tourism industry.

Expanded logging and woodchipping for the next 20 years has the potential to ruin many aspects of the south coast's natural environment for tourism and recreation. Nobody wants to holiday in a logging area or canoe down a silted, muddy stream. Yet the logging industry only produces a few million dollars worth of timber products each year, a fraction of the $500m tourism industry.

An RFA is likely to be a disaster for the natural environment and a blow to tourism and jobs. It is likely to fail to produce a positive and forward-thinking vision for the logging industry. It is likely to fail in the eyes of the public as every other RFA has so far. Let me tell you why this does not have to be the case. A far more powerful vision for the region would see the forests, waterways and tourism assets protected and the timber industry encouraged towards value adding, environmental sustainability and the abundantly available plantation timber resource. It would be a success for development, a success for employment and a success for the environment. Although many people, particularly those who benefit from the comfortable status quo, like the 100 per cent Japanese-owned export woodchipping company Daishowa, will claim this is impossible, it has already happened and it has been proven in Queensland.

Recently the Premier of Queensland announced a forestry agreement which achieved all of this. Supported by the Queensland Timber Board and the environment movement, it is being hailed as a huge success. The media is overwhelmingly positive and in support of the visionary people who put together this plan. Importantly, the only way it was achieved was by breaking out of the mould of the RFA process. The Queensland Government, instead, chose to ignore the limitations of the RFAs and came up with

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