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Notice given 8 February 2006

1576  Senator Siewert: To ask the Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation—In relation to the Commonwealth approved and supported native forest clearing and woodchip plantation establishment project on Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory:

(1) Is the Minister aware of the statement in a Great Southern Plantations (GSP) Ltd media release of Thursday, 17 February 2005, by the project operator GSP that ‘The Sylvatech acquisition will provide Great Southern access to extensive plantation land for future projects at a significant discount to current market prices for land in Great Southern’s traditional plantation regions’.

(2) Is the Minister aware that, according to GSP’s own information to its shareholders, it is paying the Tiwi Island Indigenous land owners a rental of around one dollar per hectare per year for the forested land that is being cleared for woodchip plantations.


 (3) Is the Minister aware of the prices GSP and other woodchip plantation companies pay per hectare per year for land rental or lease in southern growing areas; if so, can details of these prices be provided.

(4) Is the Minister concerned that Tiwi Island Indigenous land owners are being disadvantaged in renting their land so far below current market rates.

(5) What does the Minister intend doing to rectify this corporate behaviour.

Senator Allison: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 1579-1580)—Has the Government considered the implications of research conducted by Robert B Jackson of Duke University, in the United States of America, and others—including Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Land and Water—published in the December 2005 edition of Science , Volume No. 310, with regard to afforestation policy and practices; if not, does the Government have data or other information to suggest these findings are incorrect with regard to reductions in stream flows that result from forest planting.

1579 Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

1580 Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry