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Forest bill does not provide resource security



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FOREST BILL DOES NOT PROVIDE RESOURCE SECURITY

JOINT STATEMENT

SHADOW M IN IST E R FOR PRIMARY IN D U STR Y, BRUCE LLO YD, AND SHADOW M IN ISTE R FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, FRED CHANEY

The Government's Forest Protection and Development Bill will not provide resource security to the timber industry. The real test is whether the Bill would remove the risk of Richardson type interventions during the life of a project. Clearly it will not.

The Government must now accept the Coalition's am endm ent that the Bill be withdrawn and introduced in an am ended form so that it offers genuine resource security to forest development projects that encourage investment, no matter how small, by enterprises that add value to Australian timber.

Our am endm ent calls for three things:­

. legislative backing to State or Regional forest strategies drawn up according to Commonwealth-approved procedures,

. project-specific legislative backing for agreem ents between a State and proponents of large scale projects such as pulp mills which satisfy Commonwealth environmental and other requirements,

. the minimisation of duplication of Commonwealth and State administration.

Since the legislation w as introduced in December we have consistently stated that only the Government could am end the legislation because only the Government can guarantee the numbers. We offered to work with the Government to achieve workable legislation and have discussed our requirements with the Minister, but so far there has been no change to the legislation.

If the Government rejects this amendment it leaves us no option but to oppose this most unsatisfactory legislation.

To be absolutely clear, the Liberal/National parties:

. totally support the need for resource security;

. totally support the development of pulp mills Tasmania and Victoria, given that they satisfy appropriate environmental guidelines;

. are still willing to work with the Government and industry to produce appropriate pieces of resource security legislation for these particular projects;

. are willing to co-operate with the industry and Government in drafting an appropriate and suitable legislative package to offer resource security to the remainder of the industry, including Australia's 1200 sawmills, in accordance with our amendment. end 2/5/92

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