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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1681 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

Softwood plantings by ACT Forests are basically a tree farm for commercial forestry operations. As Mr Wood said, they provide many jobs in the ACT, many of them blue-collar jobs. I spent a lot of time discussing this with Tony Bartlett in January this year, and it became perfectly clear that the mill at Mitchell is set up for softwood. There is no industry in or around the ACT set up for hardwood. If we had a hardwood plantation, the cost in energy of getting the hardwood to mill somewhere else would probably outweigh any commercial benefits that might accrue.

I agree with Mr Wood that we cannot afford to delay beyond the winter planting season. To do that would be environmentally irresponsible. There are many fairly steep hills which are at risk of erosion. I know that ACT Forests are taking measures against that. The winter rains will worsen the situation. If we do not plant this winter, we will have to wait another year, and then the erosion would be massive and the scars would be massive.

It is with regret that the Liberal Party cannot support this motion or the amendments. I hope that this might redeem me a little in the eyes of Mr Quinlan.

MS DUNDAS (6.14): I seek leave to move three amendments together.

Leave granted.

MS DUNDAS: I move:

(1) Paragraph 1, omit "undertake a review of the future land use of the pine plantations burnt out in the Christmas bushfires, including, but not limited to, the use of some or all of the" and substitute "undertake a review of the current and future land requirements of the plantation timber industry in the ACT, including but not limited to use of current plantation".

(2) Paragraph 2, omit "this" substitute "plantation".

(3) Omit paragraph 4.

I would like to start by quickly responding to some of the comments that have gone before in this debate. I am quite disappointed that the reason why people are not willing to look at other uses for the plantation, or even consider supporting this motion, is that they believe that part of the motion is an outcome.

The motion calls for a review. We are looking at a possibility. We are looking at what we could be doing. We are not looking at an outcome. We are looking at possible outcomes. We are not making a decision here and now on the floor of this Assembly not to do anything or to do something. We are calling for a review to consider the options for the plantation land damaged by the bushfires.

My amendments go some way to addressing the concerns that have been expressed. They broaden the scope of the review to include not only the land damaged by bushfires over Christmas but all of the current and future land requirements of the plantation timber industry in the ACT. My amendments also remove the condition that we do not plant any pine trees until this review has been completed. Whilst I am committed to the review, I recognise, as others have, the impact that delaying replanting will have on the soil and the environment of the area.

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