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Monday, 6 December 1999
Page: 12900

Mr LAURIE FERGUSON (10:28 PM) —The reality is that the government's original Regional Forest Agreements Bill 1998 made no provision whatsoever for a body to promote industry development measures. It is all right for the Minister for Forestry and Conservation to come in here and grandstand about what is deficient in other amendments, but the fact of life is that the government made no provision for this whatsoever. They were shamed into doing so by the opposition's consistent advocacy of a proper wood and paper industry council. I am pleased that the Senate, after some toing and froing, has now agreed to support Labor's proposal. The minister has come here tonight alleging that somehow this is a Democrat or Green mechanism. Rather, the reality is that in the first vote the Democrats failed to support the Labor Party on these amendments. It is a Labor initiative and the minister well and truly knows that.

I remind the House that the 1992 National Forest Policy Statement encompasses more than just resource security and conservation values. On industry development, it contains quite specific undertakings about the efficient use of wood products, value adding, structural adjustment and international competitiveness. Subsequently, the former Labor government consulted key stakeholders about the development of WAPIS—a wool and paper industry strategy. This strategy was publicly announced in December 1995 and included additional funding of $38 million, in addition to the $107 million previously announced structural adjustment funding under FISAP.

Consideration interrupted; adjournment proposed and negatived.