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Monday, 30 August 1999
Page: 7898

Senator BROWN (12:44 PM) —Through you, Madam Temporary Chairman, to Senator Harris: I have some sympathy for this amendment, but not in the way in which it is drafted. I do think indigenous heritage values stand alone and ought not be removed as a specific item. There is an argument that non-indigenous heritage values—the ones that Senator Harris has adverted to—ought to have been written in as part of the assessment preceding an agreement being reached. I am quite surprised that Forestry Tasmania, which makes a big issue of many of the things that Senator Harris spoke about, has failed to get such a subclause inserted in the bill, requiring the assessment of the non-indigenous heritage values to be part of an agreement before it is acceptable. I would suggest to Senator Harris that some other form of approaching this might be the best way to go.

Indigenous heritage values are incredibly important. They should not be muddled up with post-invasion values. They are right through the forests. The committee will remember I asked Senator Troeth last week about heritage values and the concern that the Deloraine Aboriginal community had about impending logging on Quamby Bluff.

It is bad enough that Senator Troeth has been unable to give the committee any information on that logging—which would include, of course, were she to give it, indigenous values—which must be assessed, according to this document, before we can proceed to accept the Tasmanian RFA, for one. But one must presume from this—and Senator Harris is pointing this out quite rightly—that there has not been an assessment of the non-indigenous heritage values either. And that is pretty poor considering that this legislation seeks to lock down current regional forest agreements based on the presumption that all the work has been done. From Senator Troeth's inability to respond as far as Quamby Bluff is concerned, I think we can see that that work has not been done. I think Senator Harris is probably quite rightly concerned that other heritage values which are not listed here are even less likely to have been looked at.

It might help us and engender some confidence in the committee if the government was able to talk about the heritage values that have been assessed—both indigenous and non-indigenous—so that we can get an assessment of what degree of coverage there has been of these values. I think Senator Harris ought not be ignored on the matter. He and I are on different sides of the fence when it comes to this whole legislation, but what he is saying is commonsense, and maybe Senator Troeth could help him by giving an account to the committee of the assessments that have been made in any one area—or generally around Australia—of non-indigenous heritage values. When we discuss this clause I will be asking Senator Troeth to give us more information on the specific case in Tasmania which I have adverted to.