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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 210


Mr MILES(10.53) —I rise tonight to respond to some of the comments which have just been made about the environment and Tasmania. The honourable member for Dunkley (Mr Chynoweth) said that the nesting places of various animals are being lost. That assumes that virtually every mature tree in Tasmania is being cut down. He has been to that State and he obviously knows that that is not the case. It is very interesting that only a week ago there was a meeting in my electorate of about 5,000 people who are involved in the timber industry. The meeting was addressed by people from the Australian Council of Trade Unions. They were united when they said that Tasmania was managing its timber resources very well. There is no doubt that in Tasmania the companies involved in woodchipping and milling are setting about a process of ensuring that we have an ongoing and viable timber industry in that State. Tasmania is dependent on wood as a resource. It enables people to have jobs and families to have good living standards.

People such as the honourable member for Dunkley try to say to those in Tasmania that jobs do not matter, that they can go, and that it is better to look after holes for animals. That is not the case. There is no doubt that there are hundreds of thousands of mature trees in Tasmania which will provide ample places for animals to reproduce. It is about time that people on the mainland got the idea that in such areas there is never a single forest growing up without a variety of trees, even when they were fired hundreds of years ago. When they were fired hundreds of years ago, they grew up again very much like the plantations do today. That is how it occurs, even with stands of trees. There are a few old trees left around. There is no area in Tasmania in which there are not suitable places for the fauna and flora to develop naturally.

The Tasmanian Forestry Commission has set about a program which is very sensitive to the environment-the streams, the plants, and the animals that need nesting places. No State in Australia is more sensitive to the needs of both the people and the fauna. Tasmania has looked after its natural environment very well. In fact, its area of national parks is three times that of Victoria. Why does not the honourable member for Dunkley clean up his own back yard first? Why does he not get 13 per cent of Victoria into national parks before telling the Tasmanians how to run their forest industries? Why does he not do something about it now? We have maintained our environment. That is why honourable members opposite want to stick their noses into our back yard. We have looked after our environment. Why do not honourable members opposite sort out their own States before telling us what to do?

Tasmania is in good hands. We are looking after it sensitively. The big companies that are involved there and which are providing many jobs for Tasmanians are spending millions of dollars on reafforestation with eucalypt forest. They are spending millions of dollars on setting up research nurseries so that the right types of trees can be grown and so there can be a sensitive reafforestation program in Tasmania. Because we are doing it right, there is no doubt that the forest industries in Tasmania will be viable 100 and 200 years down the way.