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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1369

Senator SANDERS(11.29) —I seek leave to move my amendments as circulated, Nos 1 to 13 and 15, as a group.

The CHAIRMAN —I am sorry, Senator Sanders, you cannot do that if we are taking the Bill clause by clause. The only relevant amendment at this point is the amendment to clause 1.

Senator SANDERS —Thank you, Mr Chairman. I move amendment No. 1:

Page 1, clause 1, line 5, leave out ``Lemonthyme and Southern'', insert ``Tasmanian''.

The reason I am moving this amendment is that this relates to my subsequent amendments which would amend the Bill to include the Douglas-Apsley area and the Quamby Bluff-Jackeys Marsh area.

Senator Walters —What about the whole of Tasmania? Don't leave any of it out.

Senator SANDERS —We have some comments about the whole of Tasmania but in fact the woodchippers and the loggers in general have concessions in over two-thirds of Tasmania at present and, frankly, they want the whole State. I seek leave to incorporate the rest of my amendments.

The CHAIRMAN —If you wish, Senator Sanders, we could defer consideration of clause 1, as it is consequential on other amendments being passed, and come back to it later. It would be perfectly in order for you to move your amendment No. 1 and speak to all the others. Then I will put the question on clause 1 and you can decide whether you wish to move all the other amendments subsequently.

Senator Gietzelt —I suggest that we take amendments Nos 1 to 12 together.

The CHAIRMAN —That cannot be done unless we take the Bill as a whole. As one senator has objected, I am obliged to take it clause by clause.

Senator Vigor —Mr Chairman, all that Senator Sanders was trying to do was incorporate his amendments in Hansard at this stage. He can then move them at a later stage.

The CHAIRMAN —He can certainly incorporate them if leave is given, but he cannot move them.

Senator SANDERS —I seek leave to incorporate my amendments.

Leave not granted.

Senator SANDERS —To save the time of the Committee I will indicate my position. I have moved my first amendment, which is a test for the rest of the amendments in any case. If the response is favourable we can go into the details of this matter. If it is not, we will then abandon it. I will also foreshadow another amendment further down the line.

The reason I move this amendment is to include two areas in Tasmania which are also threatened at present. These are the Douglas River-Apsley area and the Quamby Bluff-Jackeys Marsh area. The Douglas River area is very significant. It probably would have been considered in this legislation had the Gray Government's move into the area been foreshadowed at that time. The Gray Government has now announced that it will move into the Douglas-Apsley area. The Federal Government is concerned about this issue and I would like to give it the opportunity to include the Douglas-Apsley area in the inquiry and in the legislation. The Douglas River area is the largest remaining area in Tasmania of dry sclerophyll vegetation and is the most significant area in the State where dry sclerophyll communities are associated with dolerite rock types. The area contains a high diversity of vegetation types, including 10 communities representative of eastern Tasmanian dry sclerophyll vegetation.

I must point out that the reason this area is so valuable is that almost the entire east coast of Tasmania has already been destroyed by logging interests, particularly woodchipping. Only the Douglas-Apsley area still remains in a relatively untouched state. Of these representative plant communities, the following six are unreserved or poorly reserved in the State: Eucalyptus rodwayi, eucalyptus sieberi, eucalyptus tenuiramis, eucalyptus pauciflora, eucalyptus pulchella and riverine vegetation. Old-growth stands of the remaining four representative communities are also poorly reserved elsewhere, but are present within the area. These are: Eucalyptus obliqua open forest, eucalyptus delegatensis, eucalyptus amygdalina and eucalyptus ovata woodland and low open woodland. The area is relatively undisturbed with the result that the diversity of the shrub layer in its communities is much higher than in comparable communities elsewhere and the area supports a very high diversity of birds which are representative of the east coast dry sclerophyll bird fauna.

A total of 45 endemic plant species occur in the area. Five of these endemics are eucalypts, of which two species are rare or locally uncommon and not reserved elsewhere in the State. A further 10 of the endemics are rare shrub or herbacious species, seven of which are poorly reserved and five of which-including four confined to the central coast region-are absent from any reserves. Five plant species of possible biogeographic significance occur in the area, which is also a major site of occurrence of the Australian grayling, a fish species rare over most of its range in eastern Australia. Within the area the catchments of the Douglas River and the Denison Rivulet are thought to be the last largemy unmodified catchments in eastern coastal Tasmania and thus are important reference areas of hydrological research. Similarly, the undisturbed nature of the plant communities in the area make them important reference sites for the research into forestry production and the ecology of the native plants and animals.

The Quamby Bluff-Jackeys Marsh area and surrounding areas are important as we have already heard in the fight for this area. The Quamby Bluff-Jackeys Marsh area is significant for the high diversity of vegetation communities which include dry sclerophyll forest, wet sclerophyll forest, various rainforest types, alpine and sub-alpine communities and boulderfield vegetation. Within each broad vegetation type there is a large amount of variation in altitude, aspect, drainage, shelter, topography and geology. We have seen the local residents fight for this area over and over again in the face of insensitive depredations of the Forestry Commission, the forest companies-the loggers themselves-and the Gray Government. This area has been recognised around the country as one of worth. It is an area of importance to all Australia and it should be protected.

My batch of amendments are framed in such a way as to include both the areas I have mentioned, Douglas-Apsley and Quamby-Jackeys Marsh, in the Bill. It is important to recognise that the people of Australia are very concerned about what is happening in Tasmania and they applaud the Federal Government's stand on this issue. They would be very appreciative if the Federal Government would allow the legislation to be amended to include these two areas.