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Woodchip export licences renewed for 1993

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The Minister for Resources, Alan Griffiths, announced today that he had renewed the export licences for all major hardwood and softwood woodchip exporters for 1993. There are currently nine major hardwood woodchip exporters and three softwood woodchip exporters operating in Australia.

Mr Griffiths said that his decisions followed detailed assessments to ensure that the proposed operations were consistent with ecologically sustainable forest management together with consideration of economic and employment consequences. He also said that he had consulted with all relevant Commonwealth and State agencies and fully considered advice from the Australian Heritage Commission in relation to logging in National Estate areas, as

required under the Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975.

The Minister stated that he had included specific conditions in a number of licences based on advice from the Australian Heritage Commission (AHC). "For instance, conditions were maintained in the Harris-Daishowa woodchip export licence requiring the company to liaise with relevant State agencies to ensure

protection of archaeological sites and protection of the long-footed potoroo", the Minister said.

"In considering the licence renewals, I have paid particular attention to the

protection of endangered or threatened species. All licences now include a condition requiring the exporter to ensure that operations do not threaten , with extinction or impede the recovery of any such species."

Mr Griffiths said he well understood that some environmental groups wished to see export controls used to close down the woodchip export industry. In this regard, he noted that the Resource Assessment Commission's (RAC) Forest and Timber Inquiry had examined this issue in detail and did not support this view. The RAC concluded if the main concern of these groups is that logging practices

associated with the production of woodchips from native forests are unacceptable, it would be more effective to control these practices.

Mr Griffiths added, "The woodchip industry generates export revenue for Australia of around $400 million per annum and provides valuable jobs for thousands of decent, hard working Australians, particularly in regions where there are often limited alternative employment prospects."


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Mr Griffiths also quoted the RAC Inquiry as saying that to discontinue woodchip exports for any other reason than a decline in international competitiveness, would seriously disrupt industry, and impose severe economic losses on forest based industries and local communities through drastic job losses.

Mr Griffiths said that only woodchips which are surplus to the requirements of domestic processing industries are exported, but he made it clear that it was the Government's strong desire to see further processing of our forest resources in Australia where this was both feasible and appropriate.

"In this regard, I intend to give further consideration as to whether individual companies will be required to prepare feasibility studies for further domestic processing during 1993, as is provided for in the conditions attached to all major hardwood woodchip export licences," the Minister concluded.