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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1421

Senator WALTERS(6.10) —I will not repeat what I have already said, but I remind the Special Minister of State (Senator Tate) of the conclusions that the report of Peter Bennet and Associates Pty Ltd came to. It said of the proposal to enlarge the Western Tasmania National Park:

The proposal has serious economic and social consequences for the Tasmanian economy which would lead to job losses, declines in export earnings and major implications for service sectors of the Tasmanian economy.

In summary, it was estimated that over a 20-year period approximately 11,727 direct and indirect jobs would either be lost or not replaced in forestry, mining and hydro-electric development, if the extended park became a reality.

No tourist based alternative widely mooted by the conservation movement would offset such losses. Such alternatives would never offset the anticipated loss of foreign export earnings. An export earnings decline of some $309m in forestry and mining was predicted by the study.

Can the Minister tell me why, with that conclusion by a very eminent group, the Government would want any more inquiries? We have, as the Minister knows, had nine inquiries. This one was conducted as late as last year. Can the Minister explain why any more inquiries are necessary?