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Opposition supports development of plantation strategy



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JOINT STATEMENT BY BRUCE LLOYD, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE NATIONAL PARTY AND SHADOW MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRY AND FRED CHANEY, SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

OPPOSITION SUPPORTS DEVELOPMENT OF PLANTATION STRATEGY

The Coalition welcomes the positive findings of the National Plantations Advisory Committee with regard to using cleared agricultural land to boost Australia's plantation resources.

Plantations will become increasingly important as a source of value-adding manufacturing, as an aid in combating land degradation while providing an alternative cash crop for farmers and, over time, to help reduce the pressure on native

forests.

One of the most significant recommendations of the Committee is that State governments should adopt more market responsive and competitive pricing policies and practices for the sale of wood and that State forest services be subject to trade

practices regulations. As the Committee notes, the small farmer-grower faces difficulties in dealing in a market much of the information about which is restricted to the major players.

This report should make a positive contribution to encouraging plantation expansion in Australia.

But its release at this time highlights the confusion of the government's policy approach to the forest industry and conservation issues.

Later this week we will receive the final report of the Ecologically Sustainable Development Forests Working Group, next March the Resource Assessment Commission is to present its final report on the industry and this week we may have the

long-promised, much-criticised resource security legislation introduced to parliament.

The chances of a coherent overall strategy emerging from these diverse inputs is remote.

The government is now having to deal with the results of its disastrous, politically-motivated intervention in forest- conservation issues over recent years. The tragedy is that this intervention has delayed the formulation of responsible

forest development and environmental protection strategies and has, instead, promoted confrontation and division.

CANBERRA 26 November 1991

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