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Monday, 10 November 2008
Page: 10396

Mr BRUCE SCOTT (6:38 PM) —I rise tonight to bring to the attention of the parliament a concern raised by one of my young constituents. Twelve-year-old Jack Jones from Mitchell in western Queensland has written to me about the threat to Indonesia’s orangutans, whose forest homes are being destroyed in the pursuit of palm oil, which is used in soaps, detergents, biscuits and biofuels. I certainly share Jack’s concern. I have been lucky enough to witness these beautiful creatures in their natural native habitat, and it would be a tragedy if we were to wipe them out through deforestation.

I believe Jack has bipartisan support for taking action to protect Indonesia’s orangutans. Last year, the Liberal-National Party government announced the $200 million Global Initiative on Forests and Climate to improve sustainable forest management. We also committed $10 million to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and promote sustainable forest management in Indonesia.

In September this year the Greens’ Senator Bob Brown tabled a petition which called for all products containing palm oil to be appropriately labelled for consumer information. However, the Labor Party seems peculiarly silent on this issue since coming to government. I call on the Minister for Climate Change and Water, Penny Wong, and the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, to continue the work of the former Liberal-National government to ensure the protection of the forests of Indonesia and their unique inhabitants, the orangutans.