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Monday, 19 November 2012
Page: 9038

Senator MILNE (TasmaniaLeader of the Australian Greens) (17:21): Just before question time, the minister was indicating that he would not be supporting the inclusion of sustainability in the objects clause.

I am very disappointed in that. The government was being consistent totally with what the Labor Party said it would do—and that was to provide for a transition to sustainability ‘in the long term trade in timber and wood products from sustainably managed forests’—and now the government has abandoned that.

I was very disappointed to hear Senator Colbeck saying that the inclusion of sustainability was somehow an attack on the logging industry. The logging industry are saying all the time that what they do is sustainable. It is questionable, of course, and we would argue that it is not sustainable. But, nevertheless, they would say that their principle is to behave in a sustainable manner and to manage forests in a sustainable way. However, I accept the fact that both the coalition and the government are refusing to include sustainability in this bill about preventing illegal logging.

But before we move on I ask the government: given that it is the government’s intention, as it says, to be able to transition within five years, and to meet the government’s policy objective, can the minister explain to me how that is going to happen if sustainability is not in the objects clause?