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Labor reaps the whirlwind

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Member for Pearce Shadow Minister for the Environment


The Hawke government is reaping its own whirlwind with the chaos that now surrounds its proposed resource security legislation.

in its desperate and belated attempt to try to clean up the mess it created by its use of the forest resources issue as a political football,the government has "succeeded" in only one respect.

It has achieved the previously unachievable. Both conservationists and the industry are now outraged at what is proposed.

The only reason there was a demand for resource security legislation from the industry was that it totally lost faith in the ability of the government to achieve a reasonable balance between the competing demands of industry and conservationists. Its blatantly political intervention in the South East forests dispute and in East Gippsland and the

fiasco which developed over the Wesley Vale pulp mill proposal were certainly grounds for believing it was impossible to rely on any rational approach from the government.

When, after months of Cabinet brawling, the Prime Minister produced his March 12 statement about resource security legislation the conservationists were outraged and the industry was cautiously optimistic. Six months later, with

still no finalisation to the legislation, the industry is now as despairing as its critics. <

The Coalition has declined to accept or reject the legislation sight unseen. As the confusion and uncertainty about just what is proposed grows that judgement is thoroughly vindicated.

When, if ever, the government gets around to producing its bill we will assess it on the basis of whether environmental protection is adequate, whether it will really do anything about giving the lifeblood of the Industry, small sawmillers,

any additional security and whether it avoids adding yet another layer to the already over-layered decision-making process.

The resource security legislation fiasco will go down in the history of the failed Hawke government as yet another example of, as Simon Crean said at the time of Wesley Vale, its failure to get its environment and industry development policy acts together.

BRISBANE Contact: Keith Kessell (09) 2502533

26 September 1991

■ · c o m m g n v/ ealth”


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