Page 435 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 15 February 2005

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Native vegetation catchment management

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.44): I wish to use this adjournment debate to clear up a misunderstanding and to respond to contributions that were made earlier to my matter of public importance. Mr Quinlan should read in Hansard the speech that I made about the Government Procurement Bill. It appears to me that he radically misunderstood the things that I said. I would like him to gain an understanding of what I said.

Mr Quinlan: I am happy to do so. However, you will have to tell me what is the problem. I am not going to read Hansard and play mystery games.

DR FOSKEY: We could always have a chat. I refer to my matter of public importance about native vegetation catchment management and thank the Chief Minister for welcoming the discussion. I also thank him and Mr Gentleman for their responses. However, I point out that the primary concern I raised in my speech was not addressed by the Chief Minister, Mr Gentleman or Mrs Dunne. The replanting of pines is an issue that continues to arise.

In the wake of the Christmas 2001 pine plantation fires Kerrie Tucker called for an inquiry into the best way to use that land, taking into account environmental, social and economic factors. Neither Labor nor Liberal members supported that inquiry. Many of the concerns held by people in the community would have been aired if that inquiry had gone ahead. Instead the government committed itself to replanting pines without investigation. One of the main concerns that I raised in my speech related to the replanting of pines. Will members of the public be informed whether the insurance policy for the pine plantations specifically requires the replanting of pines in the area that is referred to? There are overwhelming reasons why those pine plantations should not be replaced. What strong voice is the government using to back up its continued claim? I would like to see some movement in that area.

Let me address Mrs Dunne’s illusion. She blamed the Greens for the fires, which is something that everyone likes to do. However, that is another shibboleth, and I reclaim that word. The Greens do not have control over the national parks and forests of any state or territory in Australia. Any suggestion that they do is based on a mistaken belief that they have been in government. Successive federal, state and territory governments have determined land and fire management strategies, and we have always supported a coordinated approach to fire prevention based on scientific research.

I have lived with fire and I have fought fires in the region I come from. I point out that a number of fires, for example, the Dwellingup fires in Western Australia, were devastating even though there had been 40 years of hazard reduction burning. There are no simple answers to this question. It does nobody any good to be blaming this group, that group, farmers, foresters, or the Greens, as it does not get them anywhere. The government should look again at my proposal not to replant pines. We care about water production and we do not want to create another fire hazard.

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