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Tuesday, 18 November 1986
Page: 2369

Senator SANDERS —I refer the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce to the anti-conservation media campaign presently being conducted by the Forest Industries Campaign Association Ltd, FICA. Firstly, what funding does the Government provide for the operation of the Forestry and Forest Products Industries Council, FAFPIC, which operates through the Industry Council Secretariat in the Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce? Secondly, has FAFPIC, any FAFPIC member or any government department employee been involved in FICA or its media campaign? Thirdly, has the Government provided any funds, personnel or other support for the preparation, publication or screening of the FICA advertisements? Fourthly, does the Minister or his Government support or agree with the contents of the advertisements?

Senator BUTTON —I am aware that there have been advertisements on television and, I believe, in the newspapers which might well be part of the campaign to which Senator Sanders referred. Those advertisements are, as I understand it, in their prime purpose for the promotion of the timber industry in Australia. But I am not familiar with their content in any detail. I have seen one of them on television, I think. I am not aware of any funding provided by the Commonwealth Government for this purpose. I am, however, aware that substantial sums of money are provided by the Commonwealth Government to support various conservation activities throughout Australia. With regard to Senator Sanders's question-it is quite precise in its detail-I am not aware of the particular details of the allegations which he made but I will have those matters looked into and try to provide the honourable senator with a further answer in due course.