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Resource security legislation



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JOINT STATEMENT

SHADOW MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRY, BRUCE LLOYD AND

THE SHADOW MINISTER FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENT, FRED CHANEY

RESOURCE SECURITY LEGISLATION

The Opposition has consistently said that this legislation is fundamentally flawed.

We offered to work with the Government and industry to produce a Bill which would give genuine resource security to the whole industry.

This offer was never taken up by the Government.

We then worked with industry to produce detailed amendments which provided for regional forest plans on a basis which protected both environmental and all industry interests.

We had a Senate Inquiry at which industry and union witnesses agreed that the legislation would be improved by our amendments.

The Government has refused to entertain these amendments despite support from industry and the trade union movement as well as the Opposition.

We then took up in good faith a belated offer of discussions with the Government. The Resources Minister, Alan Griffiths, offered the Opposition an amendment to the title of the Act to

demonstrate that it applied only to large projects in the context of undertakings from the Government as follows:

. agree to retitle the Bill to Forest Conservation and Major Projects. All provisions of the Bill would remain

unchanged;

. undertake to monitor and review the effectiveness of the legislation to ensure that it achieves its objectives of certainty and security for the industry and generates value adding investment and jobs in the forest industries. If it can be demonstrated that the legislation has not achieved

its objectives within a reasonable time frame the

Government would, in consultation with industry, consider what future action might be appropriate;

. agree to consult with industry and trade unions concerning the development of the concept of enhanced

intergovernmental agreements designed to provide resource security on a regional basis for those forest industry investments which would not otherwise qualify under the Forest Conservation and Major Project legislation;

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

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. agree to ongoing discussions with industry and trade unions regarding the provision of certainty and security for investment related wood supplies in the context of

reviewing Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD), National Plantations Advisory Committee and RAC

recommendations, prior to developing the National Forest Strategy;

. announce these commitments in the resumption of the second reading of the Bill in the Senate.

The Government has now renegged on the Minister's offer and made it quite clear that its agenda is to see the legislation defeated on the combined vote of the Opposition and the Australian

Democrats.

The Opposition has consistently expressed its support for genuine resource security and for a pulp mill in Northern Tasmania based on the resource identified by the Tasmanian Forest Plan.

It is quite clear that the Government is simply playing politics with the whole issue. At a time when 1 million are unemployed, it's only object is to try to show that its failure to create employment by promoting value adding in the timber industry is

the fault of the Opposition.

The Government having rejected our substantive amendments and having refused to give the undertakings offered by Alan Griffiths last week, the name change is meaningless. We are not interested in a cosmetic change.

We have fought consistently for the 1200 smaller sawmills around Australia. But Keating made it clear today he would do nothing to provide resource security for small sawmills and projects involving less than $100 million.

In government, we will put in place genuine resource security legislation based on approval of regional forest plans which will provide resource security for large and small projects with proper protection of both environmental and economic interests.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: (06) 277 4074

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