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Beddall is wrong on NSW forests coupes deals were done to help Carr

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John Anderson, MP Deputy Leader, National Party of Australia Shadow Minister for Primary Industry

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Media Release STATEMENT


The Federal Government's failure today to approve any further forest coupes in NSW for logging is simply a grubby political deal undertaken by the NSW Labor Party, led by Larurie Brereton, to secure Green votes for Bob Carr at the State Election.

The Minister for Resources justified the Cabinet decision to exclude NSW on the grounds that the NSW Government "failed to provide the necessary information and assurances", unlike the other States where forest coupes were released today.

The NSW Minister for Land and Water Conservation, George Souris, today said he and the Primary Industries and Energy Minister, Senator Bob Collins, had * reached agreement on the release of 33 NSW coupes. Ξ

This agreement was over-ruled by a Brereton-led intervention in Cabinet.

Minister Beddall has claimed in Parliament that the NSW Government "didn't open up its forest practices like the other states". This has been denied by Minister Souris twice today.

It is also a fact that 11 of the coupes are in the South-East Forest, which is covered by the Federal/NSW Agreement which resulted from one of the most extensive scientific studies ever undertaken in a forest area and led to the declaration of 55,OOOha of new national parks.

The Agreement specifically recognised the establishment of an adequate conservation reserve system, thus giving the lie to Mr Beddall's extraordinary claim that NSW had failed to evidence proper "representation in reserves of the values in the coupes that they (NSW) have nominated for release".

7 March, 1995 See over: Media release from George Souris

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7 March 1995.

Land and Water Conservation Minister, George Souris, today totally rejected Federal Resources Minister's David BeddatVs accusation that New South Wales' information on forestry reserves was deficient

"All Mr Bedall is doing is trying to hide what everyone already knows - that Federal Cabinet's exclusion of 33 forest areas in New South Wales, is nothing more than a biased decision as a misguided attempt to help the ALP in the forthcoming State election," Mr Souris said

"Here we have one of the culprits directly responsible for the whole woodchip export licence fiasco, trying to scramble his way out of the mess, by making false accusations concerning the information supplied by New South Wales.

"Its a matter of record that Senator Faulkner's wish list of forest compartments lacked the appropriate independent scientific rigour* as they contained things such as quarries, airstrips and were either regrowth or plantation forests.

"The true and correct picture on the co-operative supply of information from New South Wales to the Commonwealth shows that since mid-November there has been constant contact and information flow between New South Wales and Canberra.

"This includes both Ministerial and Departmental inter-action, and New South Wales even volunteering information without being asked by the Federal Government

"In fact a letter dated 1 March 1995 from the Associate Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to various "interested parties" did not seek any additional information.

"The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet also failed to take any notice of the information I provided to Senator Collins in recent weeks.

"On the 13th and 14th February, 1995, lengthy and involved discussions were held in between Commonwealth and State Officials in Sydney. The Director General of the Cabinet Office provided a comprehensive written submission to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, on the licensing and assessment process for forestry activities, and the adequacy of the reserve systems

'Not during any of the 9 telephone discussions I had with Senator Collins during the last 2 weeks was there any doubt about the quality of NSW information - in fact I had finalised negotiations with between 33 and 35 coupes in NSW to be released following the Cabinet meeting. This agreement was repudiated last night," Mr Souris said.

Level 3 Slate Office Block Macquarie Street Sydney NSW 2001) Contact: Robert I laynes Phone (02) 228 3688 Fax (02) 228 380! Mobile (018) 20 2283