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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Page: 5435

Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (4:26 PM) —So, no answer to Senator Milne’s question as to whether the forest furnace attached to the Gunns pulp mill in the Tamar Valley would be eligible for this program. I did hear the minister say that by-product from woodchipping would not be but, as she knows, and we all know, woodchipping is said to be a by-product from saw-logging. The whole thing is an incredible scam because, for the 300,000 tonnes of sawlog produced in Tasmania, five or six million tonnes of woodchips are produced. A lot of that is stuck in ships and sent to Japan—where, by the way, recent shiploads have been trialling forest furnaces in Japan. This is native forest we are talking about here. The obvious conclusion to be drawn from this—the minister may disagree; and I hope she does, if I am wrong—is that, yes, the Rudd government is accrediting the forest furnace at the proposed pulp mill in the Tamar Valley as a renewable energy generator. The question that comes out of that admission by the minister is: what is the value to Gunns, on an annual basis, of the 800,000 to one million tonnes of forest that will be fed into this furnace—certainly in the initial years—through getting this certification under this legislation? Can the minister tell the chamber what the actual subsidy from the Rudd government for the destruction of Tasmanian forests to be burnt in this forest furnace will be through this proposal that she has before the chamber?