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Wednesday, 27 November 1985
Page: 2349

Senator SANDERS —I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry whether he is aware of a report in the Hobart Mercury of 22 November 1985 in which the Minister for Primary Industry is quoted as saying that there will be no logging where National Estate values are taken into account in any logging plan. Was that Minister accurately reported? If not, will the Minister clarify that Minister's attitude to logging in sensitive National Estate areas? Is it a fact that that Minister would allow logging in National Estate or World Heritage areas, such as the Douglas-Apsley, the Lemon Thyme and Western Tiers, the Jackeys March-Quamby area, or the southern forests? If so, from which areas, during which period and under what conditions? I did give the Minister previous notice of this question.

Senator WALSH —My attention has been drawn to newspapers in Tasmania and on the mainland carrying many articles speculating about woodchip export licences and likely Government decisions. It is a question of considerable importance because of its employment implications and the importance of the forestry industry to Tasmania. For that reason the Government will not be taking any decision on this matter lightly. The Government currently has the question of licence renewals before it and does not expect any decision to be announced before the middle of December. Indeed, it is unlikely that the question will be formally considered by Cabinet much before then. Therefore, Mr Kerin advises me that he is not prepared to comment further to either substantiate or deny any proposals or predictions that have been made in the Hobart Mercury or any other newspaper.