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Tuesday, 30 August 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- One or two statements by Senator Rowell are worthy of reply.

Senator Pearce - Why answer everything that comes along 1

Senator PAYNE - I desire to have the position put as fairly as possible, and if the statement of Senator Bolton remain unanswered, it may be taken that he has said the last word that can be said. Senator Bolton has referred to a conference of gentlemen interested in reafforestation held in Tasmania, some time ago, and has conveyed the idea, that at that conference the further utilization of our timber for commercial purposes, was deprecated. I shall read for the information of the Committee the opinion of Mr. L. G. Irby Conservator of Forests in Tasmania -

We are pre-eminently' a forest State, and our forest industries must be protected from excessive importations of cheap timbers (for most purposes inferior to our own), or one of our greatest national assets must continue to be sacrificed in the future as it has been during much of the past, without any adequate return to the Department in compensation for parting with our heritage - the forest. If these importations ure allowed to go on unrestricted, much of the timber on our existing timber reserves and State forests, as well as that on the wooded lands on which settlement is inevitably encroaching, must be scrapped and go up in lire and smoke.

That opinion indorses what 1 said earlier in the evening. It would be a crime to fail to use our commercial timbers, and to permit them to be destroyed as in years past, when we have the opportunity to give employment to thousands of men, and to put on the market woods which are second to none for house building. In support of my statements, I have before mo the opinions of leading Victorian architects, among whom one says -

The timber (stringybark) is found to be a satisfactory substitute for oregon formerly used for the framing of cool stores erected in the various fruit-growing districts. There is an advantage in respect of.cost, while there can be no question as to its greater durability when used both above and below ground.

Surely such a testimonial refutes the statement that the timbers grown so freely in Australia are not a commercial asset.

Senator Bolton - I was referring to immature timber. The mature wood is all right.

Senator PAYNE - That criticism can easily be obviated ; it does not suggest any fault in the timber itself.

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