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Tuesday, 18 October 1983
Page: 1816

Dr EVERINGHAM —I ask the Prime Minister: Has the Federal Government approved, after careful inquiry, controlled timber logging on Fraser Island? Has the logging been responsibly limited to preserve this unique island and its ecology? Can the Government assure those involved in that logging that the Government will not terminate this controlled industry?

Mr HAWKE —I can give an assurance to the honourable member for Capricornia, to the people of Queensland and, most particularly, to the people of Maryborough that the Federal Government has no plans at all to terminate the present controlled timber logging industry on Fraser Island. Selective logging and reafforestation undertaken by the industry on the island has been a success, and it will continue. I remind the House that the logging referred to provides direct employment for about 180 people in sawmills. It provides a further indirect employment for about 300 people in associated industries such as plywood plants and timber finishing. Those valuable and desperately needed jobs will continue; they will not be abandoned.

I am very pleased to be able to give these assurances to the honourable member for Capricornia in response to a totally dishonest advertising campaign by the Queensland National Party in the context of the Queensland election. It has been claiming that the Federal Government will terminate controlled logging on Fraser Island. I must say that the behaviour of the National Party in that respect is contemptible. I hasten to add that I exclude from that observation the honourable member for Wide Bay, who today has listed a motion in temperate and reasonable terms. The observations I make about the contemptible nature of National Party advertising in the Queensland election campaign certainly excludes any reference to the honourable member for Wide Bay. I ask members of this House to note just how contemptible this course of behaviour by the National Party has been in the context of the Queensland election. The National Party has deliberately and without any basis whatsoever engaged in a campaign of fear and scaremongering amongst the workers in this industry. It has made totally baseless claims which have caused these workers and those dependent upon them to worry quite needlessly about their livelihood. In conclusion, I repeat that there is absolutely no basis for this contemptible campaign by the National Party in Queensland, and I believe that on 22 October the people will respond accordingly.