Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    
Wednesday, 16 February 2000
Page: 11946


Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Forestry and Conservation, upon notice, on 1 December 1999:

With reference to the Minister's stated intention to extend the completion date for regional forest agreements from 31 December 1999 to 31 March 2000:

(1) Has the Minister called for applications for new export woodchip licences, given that those issued under the transitional arrangements expire on 31 December 1999; if not: (a) does the Minister intend to do so; (b) when; and (c) what will be the process.

(2) If the new licences are to be issued or the existing ones amended: (a) what ceiling will be placed on the volume of woodchips that can be exported from each region; (b) what conditions will be placed on licences; (c) what assessment will be made on the compliance of applicants with the conditions on their previous licences; (d) what period will the licences be issued for; and (e) what areas of native forest will be protected and which will be permitted to be logged (please specify geographical locations).

(3) (a) has the Minister determined whether the making of the regulations or the issuing of licences to extend the deadline to 31 March 2000 requires environmental assessment under the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act; and (b) in each case: (i) what are the reasons, (ii) what advice has the Minister for the Environment and Heritage provided, and (iii) when was it provided.


Senator Hill (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) —The Minister for Forestry and Conservation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) (a), (b) and (c) The Export Control (Hardwood Wood Chips) Amendment Regulations 1999 (the `Amendment Regulations') were made on 15 December 1999, and have the effect of extending the period of operation of transitional licences in force on 31 December 1999 to 31 March 2000; provided that such licences are for a region for which an RFA is not in force on 31 December 1999. The Amendment Regulations commenced on 31 December 1999.

(2) (a) The Amendment Regulations provide that the volume able to be exported under each transitional licence during the extension period will be limited:

. in the case of controlled wood chips classified as “whether residue or otherwise”, to one-third of the annual mass allowed to be exported under the transitional licence, or 10,000 green tonnes, which ever is greater; and

. in the case of controlled wood chips classified as “residue”, to one-third of the annual mass allowed to be exported under the transitional licence.

(b) Existing licence conditions will continue to apply, subject to necessary changes made under the Amendment Regulations in relation to conditions concerning volume, reporting and payment of monitoring fees.

(c) Licences will continue to be monitored by the Woodchip Export Monitoring Unit for compliance to licence conditions both during the original and extended periods of operation.

(d) See answer to question 1.

(e) Licences do not guarantee the licence holder any right to harvest. However, licence conditions prohibit the export of woodchips sourced from areas that may be required for a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system for the region, as specified under the relevant State's Deferred or Interim Forest Agreement. The Amendment Regulations ensure that licences whose period of operation are extended remain bound for the extension period to the relevant Deferred or Interim Forest Agreement as in force on 31 December 1999.

(3) (a) and (b) In relation to my proposal to recommend to the Governor-General in Council the making of the Amendment Regulations, I designated myself as a proponent under the Administrative Procedures under the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974. On 9 December 1999, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage advised me that he had determined that “neither an environmental impact statement nor a public environment report is required for the purpose of achieving the object of the Act in regard to this proposal.