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Wednesday, 27 August 1997
Page: 5875

(Question No. 634)

Senator Murray asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, upon notice on, 17 June 1997:

(1) Is it a fact that some or all of the karri trees to be taken from the National Estate interim-listed old-growth karri forests of Giblett block near Pemberton in Western Australia are destined for export to South Africa to be used as mine support stays; if so: (a) how much karri from Giblett will be used for this purpose; (b) what will be the total value and volume of Giblett karri for this particular export market; (c) which company or companies hold the contract for this export; and (d) which South African companies or government agencies are purchasing the karri timber.

(2) Has the Minister or the Commonwealth approved the export of this timber; if so: (a) when was approval given; (b) can full details be provided; and (c) why was approval given for this inappropriate use of these world famous, unique and disappearing old-growth forests.

(3) Is this karri timber being supplied at below economic returns to Australia.

Senator Parer —The Minister for Primary Industries and Energy has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) I have received no applications to approve exports of native hardwood for mine stays in South Africa.

(2) Under the Export Control (Unprocessed Wood) Regulations 4. (1), the following are declared to be prescribed goods:

" (a) wood chips (except wood chips declared to be prescribed goods by the Export Control (Hardwood Wood Chips) (1996) Regulations);

(b) wood in the round which is intended to undergo further processing following export;

(c) wood with a cross sectional area of 225 square centimetres or greater which is intended to undergo further processing following export. [Note: Special provisions apply to the export of certain kinds of hardwood wood chips—see the Export Control (Hardwood Wood Chips) (1996) Regulations. ]"

Timber falling outside this definition, may be exported without a licence.

(3) This is a commercial transaction, to which the Commonwealth Government is not a party. As such, the Commonwealth Government does not have access to, and in any event would be reluctant to release, details of commercial transactions between other parties.