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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6978


Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 24 October 2002:

(1) When did Austrade commence discussions with the association regarding its involvement in indirectly supporting the trade fair?

(2) What was the opportunity cost to Austrade of the 184 hours of staff time spent on the Papua New Guinea forestry exhibition?

(3) Does Austrade consider the association to be the peak body promoting eco-forestry in Papua New Guinea; if so, why?

(4) Do the association's members include eco-forestry companies; if so, who.

(5) Is Austrade aware that the largest member of the association is the Malaysian logging company, Rimbunan Haijau.

(6) Does Austrade consider Rimbunan Haijau an eco-forestry company; if so, why; if not, why not?

(7) Which Australian companies exhibited at the trade fair.

(8) What `eco-forestry' products and services were showcased at the trade fair?

(9) What does Austrade define as constituting `eco-forestry'?

(10) Were there any speakers at the association conference from the Papua New Guinea eco-forestry forum; if not, why not?

(11) What benefits resulted from Austrade's involvement in the trade fair?


Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

With reference to the Papua New Guinea Forest Industries Association Forest Investment Seminar held in Port Moresby, March 2002:

(1) Austrade commenced discussions with the PNG Forest Industries Association (PNGFIA) in June 2001.

(2) If Austrade had not spent time on the 2002 PNG Forestry Trade Fair, the time would have been spent seeking to win business for Australia in potentially less prospective sectors.

(3) No.

(4) Although not specifically labelled as such, many of the 35 PNGFIA member companies are involved in eco-forestry activities.

(5) Austrade is aware Rimbunan Haijau (RH) is a member of the PNGFIA.

(6) In the context of the 2002 PNG Forestry Trade Fair, Austrade defines the term eco-forestry as small-scale environmentally sustainable forestry work.

The RH group of companies is not small scale as it is one of the largest rural investors in PNG. In relation to being environmentally sustainable - all PNG forest activities must abide by the relevant laws and allied regulations such as the Logging Code of Practice.

(7) Savannah Australia; Shady Creek Nursery; Shepherd Systems; Austimber; Michael Weinig; Narapela Wei; Pacific Associates International; and FARMSET.

(8)

· Savannah Australia - promotion of plantation development initiatives through using Australian made silvicultural equipment.

· Shady Creek Nursery - grower of seedlings suitable for reforestation work in PNG.

· Narapela Wei - promotion of portable sawmills and training provider services to PNG landowner groups.

· Pacific Associates International - promotion of portable sawmills to PNG landowner groups.

· FARMSET promotion of portable sawmills and training provider services to PNG forest resource owners.

(9) In the context of the 2002 PNG Forestry Trade Fair, Austrade defines the term eco-forestry as small-scale environmentally sustainable forestry work.

(10) No, there were no speakers from the PNG eco-forestry forum.

Austrade is advised by the PNGFIA that the Association extended an invitation to the eco-forestry forum to attend the 2002 PNG Forestry Investment Seminar and Trade Fair, however no official representative from the forum attended.

(11) As a direct result from the inaugural 2002 Forestry Trade Fair Austrade assisted Shepherd Systems win business in the PNG market, arranged export orders for Shady Creek Nursery, identified potential buyers for Savannah Australia, and provided export opportunities and in-market customer contacts to five other exhibitors.

Other benefits included raising the awareness of Australian products and services relevant to the business needs of more than 60 visitors from PNG forestry-related companies and landowner groups.