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Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Page: 127

Senator Brown asked the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 17 August 2004:

With reference to orangutans that are found only in Indonesia and Malaysia which, at the current rate of habitat loss, are facing extinction in the wild in the next 10 years:

(1) What is the Government doing to: (a) ensure that this does not happen; and (b) allow consumers to make an informed choice when choosing timber that may have come from these areas.

(2) Why is country of origin labelling of timber not compulsory as it is for other goods.

(3) Is the Government certain that it is not using illegally-felled timbers.

(4) How many litres of Indonesian and Malaysian palm oil are being imported into Australia each year.

(5) Are Australian consumers aware that the main reason for rainforest habitat destruction is to allow palm oil plantations to be established and that this oil is being used in Australia for low-grade cooking applications.

(6) What else is the government doing to assist our neighbours in the protection of our closest relative, the orangutan.

Senator Ian Campbell (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

The questions that concern agriculture, timber and timber products should be addressed to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. For questions that address the plight of the orangutan, I refer to my answer to your Question on Notice No. 3168.