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Thursday, 25 June 2009
Page: 7307

Mr SIDEBOTTOM (12:45 PM) —Good afternoon, colleagues. I would like to mention two things that are related to my electorate and that are very important economic drivers: tourism and forestry. The first, related to tourism, is that last Saturday I had the pleasure of the company of the Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson, at a tourism forum that was held in Wynyard and hosted by our local mayor, Kevin Hyland. Part of that visit was to officially open the Table Cape Lighthouse project. There was $185,000 committed in the last election to the lighthouse project. The lighthouse is on Table Cape, which is to the west of Wynyard, and provides a most magnificent viewing platform of the north-west coast, both to the east and the west, as well as the hinterland.

The $185,000 has been used to open up the lighthouse so that tourists can actually go up the lighthouse, go outside and look at the magnificent views from the lighthouse, which was built in 1888. Also, the moneys will be used for signage for those people that go to the lookout at Table Cape and then go on a magnificent coastal walking track towards the west and towards the lighthouse itself. Some of the $185,000 was also used to incorporate, as a visitor experience, the lighthouse with the magnificent Van Diemen Quality Bulbs tulip farm, which is directly to the south of the lighthouse. So you can have the great experience of going through the farm, looking at the lighthouse and going up the lighthouse. Even for someone like me who suffers from vertigo, it was lovely and safe—fantastic views and a beautiful place. So when you come and visit the north-west coast, I hope you will go and have a look at Table Cape Lighthouse and have that wonderful tourism experience. I thank the minister and this government for honouring that commitment.

The second thing I would like to talk about is forestry, a very important industry in my electorate and also in Tasmania. I was very pleased that the Prime Minister came to Braddon with me and went to Circular Head, a great forestry area, to announce Labor’s forest policy before the last election. I was very pleased that in the House yesterday the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Hon. Tony Burke, gave unequivocal support to the forest industries. Essentially, his speech outlined our election commitments and how we are fulfilling them—and we are. There was $20 million announced in 2007 to assist industry and support jobs, particularly in regional communities like my own, and the minister was able to go through each of the measures in that $20 million.

What was very important about the minister’s speech yesterday was that it reinforced the importance of regional forest agreements. Throughout Australia, and particularly in Tasmania, these are the consensus agreements based on science wherein we strive to create a balance between conservation, preservation, reservation and, of course, the creation of a sustainable industry so that we can enjoy those things that we need to reserve and conserve while sustainably growing and harvesting a resource that belongs to us all, and that is very important in terms of communities, the economy and, of course, the environment.

We know that forests and the industries associated with them are going to be very important contributors to this whole issue of climate change, particularly in terms of being carbon stores and carbon sinks. I was very pleased that the minister again reinforced this government’s support for the industry and for the RFAs, which are so important in giving surety not only to industry about its resources in the future but also to communities that rely very much on this really important industry.

The other thing that the minister was very strong in endorsing and reinforcing was support for the pulp mill in Northern Tasmania, which is there, is waiting and has been surrounded by political controversy since cocky was an egg but which is a great absorber for jobs in the future. We are waiting for a tick off on that and, if it meets its environmental guidelines, it should go ahead. The minister made it very clear that it should and that he supports that pulp mill. (Time expired)