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Thursday, 23 September 1999
Page: 10425


Mr HORNE (4:53 PM) —I intend to be charitable this afternoon. After all, is this not the minister that was described by the Prime Minister only today as the friend of the blue-collar worker, as the man who has brought certainty to the timber industry? Do not ask me how he has done it because, with decisions being made on the run, such as this one, how any industry could plan or decide it was going to invest in the timber industry is beyond reason. After all, is this not the minister that has had the RFA agreement for northern New South Wales sitting on his desk since November last year? He still has not signed off on it. This just happens to be an area that affects the blue-collar workers in my electorate. I can assure you, Minister, that they want to know when you are going to sign off on that one, too.

I certainly support the legislation, as does all the Labor Party. We believe that forest jobs are honest jobs. We know there are responsible people out there that need the assurance of this government, so that they know they can invest and they know that they have the support. That is why we are making sure they get the message that the people in the timber industry do have the support of the Labor Party. I only wish that the minister could have given that assurance some months ago.