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Monday, 30 August 1999
Page: 7899


Senator HARRIS (12:48 PM) —I would first of all like to address the comment by the minister that these values are actually protected in the legislation. We are talking about a Commonwealth bill; we are not talking about the state based RFAs. In the bill itself I go back to the definitions. In the definition for RFA, under (a), it very clearly says:

. . . the agreement was entered into having regard to assessments of the following matters that are relevant to the region or regions . . .

In her answer, the minister said that these issues were to be addressed within the region or regions. Again I put my question. The act clearly sets out the environmental values, old-growth values, wilderness values, endangered species values, national estate values, world heritage values, economic values and social values. I do not in any way say that they will not be assessed. But, if the head of power of this act is such that, after having listed all of those values, it then clearly needs to add indigenous heritage values as a separate, specific item, it is very explicit that non-indigenous values do not come under any of those preceding values.

Senator Forshaw said that if we want to look at European culture and heritage we can go to a tourist park. I can do the same thing in Cairns at Tjapukai. I do not see the relevance of the statement. What I am clearly saying is this. Can the senator clearly show me how having something represented in a tourist park will actually preserve the value in the forest—say, for argument's sake, an old steam engine in its place in the forest, a mining race or a cabin in the high country? If those tourist parks and their examples can actually protect the physical objects that are in the forestry area I would be very pleased if the senator could indicate to me how it can be achieved.

I have not at any point in time said anything that would diminish the value of indigenous heritage, and I would like it to be very clearly put on the record that it is not my intention to do so. My intention was, and still is, to recognise both, and not detract from either.