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Woodchip industry important to Tasmania



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P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A P A R L I A M E N T H O U S E

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H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

W00DCHIP INDUSTRY IMPORTANT TO TASMANIA

David Connolly, Shadow Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment today said that the Hawke Government must ensure that the Tasmanian Woodchip industry could be sustained well into the future as it represented a major employer of labour in that State. The Commonwealth's interest should be limited to

satisfying itself that the natural forests subject to woodchipping and logging could maintain sustainable yeilds.

"My recent discussions with both the Tasmanian Forestry Commissioner and the timber companies Involved in preparing the Environmental Impact Statement had satisfied me that the appropriate standards of environmental protection would be maintained., i

"There appears to be a concern among the conservation movement that the upper yeild limit proposed in the E.I.S could not be sustained. The timber Industry assured me that the upperlimit represents to the Tasmanian Government the sum total of maximum possible licence volumes, while from the industry viewpoint it will only take what can be economically processed and sold.

"The environment movement is algo concerned that the industry is encroaching upon the conservation areas around the South West Conservation Area and World Heritage Area. They have proposed that the buffer zone around the park be extended. This however effectively increases the boundary of the park with land which may pot be of particular value to the park itself.

"Conflict between the Tasmanian Government and the enironment movement is inevitable over thig issue as the areas proposed as buffer zones cntain significant natural resources, especially timber and minerals.

"The woodchip industry represents 2.5% of Tasmania's Gross Domestic Product and 2.5% of Tasmania's employment, 10% of employment being directly attributed to woodchipping and the rest being indirectly employed in inter-related industries. It has been estimated that a reduction of 30% in woodchip exports would

be responsible for the loss of 1300 j^gbs across the entire Tasmanian economy. ' .

"The Federal Government has^con$titutional right to interfere with the Tasmanian Woodchip industry only as far as the issuing of export licences is concerned. If the Minister responsible for the environment is satisfied that the industry is taking

adequate precautions to protect the environment, then any further interest in the maintenance of the industry is the responsibility of the of the Tasmanian Government.

13 August 1985

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Contact: David Connolly (02) 442 516