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Tuesday, 23 April 1985
Page: 1356

Senator HEARN —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. As the year 1985 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of the Forest, has the Government considered a national forestry policy to repair the devastation caused to trees and soil in Australia since settlement? Would this not be a substantial way of marking our two-hundredth anniversary, and would it not be also a valuable training-employment opportunity?

Senator WALSH —The Government is committed to a national approach to the protection of the environment and rehabilitation of degraded areas. It has already implemented a soil conservation scheme and is directing funds to a national tree program, particularly through the community employment program. Budgetary resources preclude large-scale reafforestation schemes, at least in the near future. I will refer the question to the Minister for Primary Industry to see whether he has anything to add to the answer I have given.