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Thursday, 26 February 1987
Page: 702

Senator NEWMAN —Is the Minister representing the Attorney-General aware that the Heritage Commission is refusing to remit fees on any application under the Freedom of Information Act for documents relating to the Tasmanian forestry industry on the ground that the matter is not `in the general public interest or the interest of a substantial section of the public'? In the light of the Press release of the Prime Minister and Ministers Kerin and Cohen on 15 December 1986 in which they recognised `the importance of the forestry industry to the State of Tasmania and of its important economic, social and employment implications' and further that `this is in the interests of all Australians', is he prepared to support his Cabinet colleagues and take action to correct the matter?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I am not aware that the Heritage Commission has been refusing to remit fees for Senator Newman's FOI application in this matter but, given the quality of her previous contributions to the public interest in this country, I find that an entirely plausible response.