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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6409


Mr ADAMS (Lyons) (12:56): As Minister Burke is aware, the government want a national forest policy that is world class in sound forest management and conservation systems. In the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement between the Commonwealth and Tasmanian governments, which was signed last year following the downturn in the forest industry and the withdrawal of a considerable amount of capital by one company, the government committed $262 million to ensure that we do have a sustainable forestry industry by having a sustainable wood supply and by identifying the opportunities for regional development and economic diversity coming from those changes to our forest industry.

The minister was in my electorate just recently, opening $103 million worth of irrigation. We are getting on with a lot of sustainable irrigation in Tasmania, and that scheme will certainly change and diversify a lot of that farm area. The IGA certainly offers Tasmania a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to diversify into many other areas. The government committed to providing $45 million to support displaced workers and contractors through this transitional period, so that they can exit the forest industry. There is also $27 million, over the next three years, being provided to Forest & Wood Products Australia, the industry's service provider, to invest in research and development and provide those research results to the forest and wood products industry of Australia.

With all these things changing in the forest industry, in Tasmania and in other parts of Australia, I know the government are committed to introducing the illegal logging legislation and have been doing some work on that in committees of this parliament. But we see the world, through the European Union and the United States, trying to come to grips with this as well. Minister, is our legislation trying to get to the same level as they are in the United States and the European Union so that we in Australia do not become a dumping ground for the timber from illegal logging? Are we working closely with industry groups and trading partners to promote our values of sustainable forest practices? Are there other issues? Is there opposition to this course through the parliament? Could you answer those questions for us, Minister?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): Minister, we will be back at 4 pm to continue the debate on the appropriation bill. Would you be happy to answer that question, and others that I am sure will flow, when we resume?