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Tuesday, 6 June 1989
Page: 3424

Senator ARCHER —My question is directed to the Minister for the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories. Has the Minister received an explanation of the latest `lock up Tasmania' proposals from his Tasmanian colleague Michael Field? Are the additional areas of forest now proposed to be set aside in the accord, from present and future commercial use, in line with the final agreements reached between this Government and the previous Tasmanian Government? I further ask: in view of the huge loss of State, business and personal income this would incur, could Tasmania expect to have such losses made up by an equivalent annual Federal funding allocation?

Senator RICHARDSON —As I understand it, the arrangements made between the incoming Premier of Tasmania, Mr Field, and Dr Brown differ from the arrangements made between the Commonwealth and the Government of Mr Gray. The Commonwealth, not having control over all forest areas is, of course, not in a position to dictate at its whim whatever its will might be. My colleague, Senator Cook, is responsible for those negotiations.

Senator Walters —Don't blame Cookie.

Senator RICHARDSON —I am not blaming Senator Cook. I am not criticising him at all; I am stating a fact. Senator Cook negotiated an agreement with the Tasmanian Government. A new Tasmanian Government will come to power. As I understand it, the agreement that has been created now allows for logging in six of the nine National Estate areas which were referred to by Senator Cook in the agreement that he had with the Tasmanian Government. Studies will be carried out in all of those areas to determine what alternatives to logging there are for them in the future. The question of compensation ought not to arise because Mr Field and Dr Brown are quite convinced that in the interim there will certainly be enough timber to go around. In the long term, what we are about is establishing just what resource there is which would enable the State of Tasmania to take pressure off National Estate forests.