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Federal Court decision on N.S.W. forests issue

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20 December 1989 Pie 89/352C


I welcome today's judgment by the Federal Court which endorses the process by which the Government reached its decision in December 1988 to grant an export licence to Harris-Daishowa.

At the same time, I regret that the Australian Conservation Foundation found it necessary to mount its action in the court in the first place.

Since the southeast forests issue first arose, it has been made clear that my door was always open on the issue.

There was therefore never any need for the ACF to communicate with me on the matter of the HDA licence via the Federal Court.

Unfortunately, some members of the conservation movement still appear determined — for reasons that have not been made satisfactorily clear — to continue their policy of non-communication with me on the forests issue.

The South East Forest Alliance still has not responded to my invitation to discuss with me its peace plan for the forests.

SEFA has not yet taken up my suggestion that it bring its plan for discussion to the community consultative committee which the Government is setting up to help find and oversee a solution to the issue which will be fair, workable, acceptable and durable.

Spokespersons for conservation groups have now refused two offers within the last week to be involved in the consultative process to deal with the issue.

They announced last weekend that they would refuse to be part of the community consultative committee.




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They have now refused even to attend a briefing which I have arranged for all interested parties on the interim report of the scientific committee which is conducting flora and fauna surveys in the forest area.

The Government expects to receive this report tomorrow (Thurs).

Its invitation to a briefing on the report was offered in a sincere attempt to keep all interested parties properly and fully informed about this latest significant development in the issue.

It was yet another step in the process — to which the Government is firmly committed — of achieving a fair and durable solution to the issue.

Only conservationists' representatives have refused this invitation.

In other words, unlike their colleagues in Tasmania, some conservationists in New South Wales prefer confrontation to consultation.

The idealism of the conservation movement is not to be doubted but the methods of some of its members are not so desirable.

Instead of taking part in the consultative way to to deal with disagreement for which the Hawke Government is famous, they are opting for a summer of discontent in the forests.

I'm sorry about this but it will not prevent me from carrying out the Government's policy of carefully building up community awareness of and support for a solution which offers the maximum possible protection both for the forest and for the

people who live and work there.

This policy continues to include plans for eucalypt plantations, development of a flitchmill and programs to achieve more efficient utilisation of the timber resource.

It continues to have as a long-term objective development of industry which will add value to the resource, rather than just having it shipped out of Australia in the form of chips.

And it continues to include — as a central component — establishment of a community-based consultative group to oversee the whole process so as to ensure a fair solution to the issue and to bring harmony back to the southeast of NSW.

Enquiries: Dominic Nagle (062) 777480