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Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Page: 4629

Senator LUDWIG (QueenslandMinister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Minister Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland Floods Recovery) (11:22): As I indicated earlier, while revegetation may be taking the landscape back to its natural state, high-security water licences are required because other land uses, such as agriculture, also need water. It will use more water than was the case before human settlement. It is one of those areas where the CSIRO has put together a table. It provides a range whereby you can see a long-term average annual rainfall. It is only used to provide the high security for at least the volume of water likely to be intercepted by the forest annually. It is calculated in accordance with table 1. It provides a calculation. The object is to get to a point where we can use table 1 in a meaningful way. In using it in a meaningful way, it is of course open for consultation. If stakeholders disagree with the long-term average annual rainfall volumes of water offset entitlements required per hectare over the life of a plantation forest then they are entitled to have input into that process.

While dealing with the baseline, we have also dealt with the overall table itself. I think I have sufficiently answered questions for this area. It is again outside the amendment which we are currently dealing with. I am happy to provide answers to it, but we are still dealing with filibustering from those opposite. I know they do not want to pass this legislation. I am happy to answer questions about it and to provide clarity in relation to it. I am sure the community at large, with its 59 submissions, has been able to provide input. The regulations are out for further comment. All of that means that this area will be beneficial to farmers and to the environment the sooner we pass it and put the framework in place.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN ( Senator Coonan ): The question is that the amendment be agreed to. Senator Birmingham.