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Thursday, 2 April 1987
Page: 1791

Senator WATSON(10.18) —I wish to refer to clause 8 (2) and also clause 8 (1) (d). I shall begin with sub-clause (2). I believe that a number of people in the forest industries in Tasmania and the Premier of Tasmania were seeking certain government assurances in relation to job losses in the Tasmanian forestry industry. I point out to the Senate that if, as the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) suggests, the Federal Government is not trying to put people out of work, why is there a paragraph in the legislation which asks the Commission of Inquiry to find ways to try to minimise job losses? We will find-and I shall speak on this matter again later-that about half the saw mills are likely to have their log supply affected over the period of the proposed inquiry.These sawmills are going to have a right to compensation. Clause 8 (1) (d) goes to the very heart of the State Government's ability to manage the State's forestry resources. In effect, an inquiry has been undertaken and studies have been made. Again I wish to point out to the chamber that 60 per cent of the Lemonthyme is never intended to be logged. It has been the subject of an inquiry and an environmental impact statement. What is going to happen? This inquiry is going to usurp something that has previously been agreed upon, and clause 8 (1) (d) goes to the very heart of a State government's responsibilities to undertake, in a responsible manner, the exploitation and development of its own resources, something that should properly belong to the State and should not be taken away from it.

Senator Sanders —They cannot do it. They have shown themselves incapable of managing their own resources.

Senator WATSON —It is not a question of being incapable of managing our own resources. The studies have been undertaken and agreements have been reached, but the Federal Government is attempting to walk away from those agreements. This inquiry is going to repeat what has been done by the Tasmanian Forestry Commission and other parties in Tasmania in drawing up the environmentally sensitive areas and declaring how they should be logged and what roads should be constructed through what parts of the Lemonthyme to make sure that that sensitive resource can continue growing.