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A timber industry whitewash in NSW is just not on



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JOINT STATEMENT

John Anderson, Minister for Primary Industries and Energy Ian Sinclair, Federal Member for New England Ian Causley, Federal Member for Page Garry Nehl, Federal Member for Cowper Gary Nairn, Federal Member for Eden Monaro

Mark Vaile, Federal Member for Lyne Bob Baldwin, Federal Member for Paterson Larry Anthony, Federal Member for Richmond ^ sA /?7 A TIMBER INDUSTRY WHITEWASH IN NSW IS JUST NOT ON

The NSW Government is on notice that it will not be allowed to use the joint Commonwealth-State comprehensive regional assessment process that will lead to Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) to whitewash local

communities which are dependent on the forest industries for survival.

The Commonwealth has repeatedly stated that this will be a science-based process that strikes a balance between conservation objectives and the national imperative of having a sustainable, native forest based industry.

The conservation criteria (the so-called JANIS criteria) to be used in the assessments will be applied flexibly. As we have acknowledged already, the impact of doing otherwise would be devastating in many parts of NSW.

The conservation criteria are not Commonwealth only criteria. They are nationally agreed criteria and acknowledge the need for them to be applied flexibly at the regional level to take account of socio-economic issues.

Commonwealth and State Environment and Forest Ministers, including NSW Minister for Land and Water Conservation, Kim Yeadon, and the NSW Environment Minister, Pam Allan, have approved the criteria.

While the Prime Minister has confirmed the Commonwealth is prepared to apply the reserve criteria flexibly to achieve a sensible balance between jobs and conservation, no such guarantee has been made by Premier Carr.

The Commonwealth has voiced serious concerns about the pre-emptive forests decisions taken by the Carr Government last year as a result of the Interim Assessment Process.

They were unacceptable decisions and should not have been made without the full benefit of the social, economic and conservation studies which will be conducted during the agreed joint assessment process.

''MMONWEACTH ■NTARY LIBRARY

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The Commonwealth will use the comprehensive joint assessments, which are now beginning in most regions, to audit the decisions made by NSW last year, particularly its new wilderness area declarations.

The Prime Minister has already reserved the Commonwealth's right to come to different conclusions following the scientific assessments, if they prove that the Carr Government erred with its decisions last year.

In this event, the Commonwealth will attempt to negotiate balanced Regional Forest Agreements in NSW that are based on sound science.

However, we are concerned that ultimately the Carr Government will attempt to use its constitutional responsibility for land management to unilaterally impose its anti-country agenda on the people of NSW.

We will not allow the Commonwealth to be blamed for such an outcome.

Communities such as Gloucester, Bulahdelah, Wingham, Wauchope, Eden, Bombala, Dorrigo, Woodenbong and Walcha will not be hung out to dry by the Commonwealth.

We will be seeking a fair outcome that secures the future of our internationally competitive, sustainable native forest industries.

We want to see a balanced outcome based on good science that recognises that the timber industry and the people and communities dependent on it for their livelihoods are just as important as the forests.

25 February 1997

Media Contacts:

Robert Haynes (John Anderson's office) 0419 493 511 or (06) 277 7520 Ian Causley (06)277 4218 Ian Sinclair (06) 277 4064 Garry Nehl (06)277 4016 Gary Naim (06)277 4939 Mark Vaile (06)277 4447 Bob Baldwin (06)277 4492 Larry Anthony (06) 277 5705