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Yeadon's comments further trivialise the already farcical NSW forest issue - Tuckey.

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Media Release

The Hon Wilson Tuckey MP

Minister for Forestry and Conservation




4 December 1998



The issues in the NSW forest debate are:

  • have the decisions that have been unilaterally made been properly scientifically assessed and if so, why does the NSW Government keep finding excuses not to provide that assessment to Federal Government officials?
  • can the areas identified for future logging provide the saw log volumes promised by the NSW Government at the sustainable levels set in international criteria? All anecdotal evidence says NO and Commonwealth officials have not been provided the information to check against their extensive and sophisticated database.
  • has the NSW Government properly assessed the social impact of their decisions and will the $10 million allocated provide adequate compensation or relocation? I understand one claim is for $8 million.
  • would the NSW forests, and all the stakeholders involved, including the NSW taxpayer, have been better off had a joint Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) been concluded between the Commonwealth and the NSW Government, using the transparent CAR and JANIS criteria?

It is the NSW Government that took the unilate ral action in its Parliament to deny any further Federal funding. The Federal Government has already provided approximately $20 million to NSW based on the word of the NSW Government that it would conclude a satisfactory RFA.

The fact that a further $40 million is no longer available results only from the NSW Government deciding to dump negotiations and implement its own strategy which includes statements that they will fully fund the resulting job and business losses.

Mr Yeadon's most recent effort seems to ignore these issues while attempting to open a new front, debating the proposed world heritage listing of the Blue Mountains and the fallacious issue of the constitutionally impaired Federal Government making some sort of chain saw sortie into the National Parks of NSW.

Now for the facts:

At no time did I mention the Blue Mountains in my interview with the Sydney Morning Herald , nor do I believe the proposed heritage listing of this area has anything of consequence to do with my portfolio responsibility for forests. The application is well advanced and agreed.

I was correctly reported as saying that I do not favour the use of World Heritage listing as a forest management tool, quoting the recent visit of World Bank officials to ask the Australian Government to form an alliance with them to use our recognised expertise in sustainable forest management to assist some third world countries in forestry regeneration.

It appears silly in such circumstances to make our forest managers subject to overview by people the World Bank has overlooked.

I also stand by my view that it is time for the forest debate to rethink conventional wisdom regarding conservation through a reserve system that restricts or denies the normal processes of ecological forest development that has applied for thousands of years in Australia's forest environment.

Unlike others, I am not hide-bound to my opinion but a 'whole-of-forest reserve by management' system has some pretty substantial supporters, including Greenpeace foundation member, Patrick Moore.

A forest is not some Rocky Mountains; a forest is not Stonehenge; a forest is not made up of concrete towers, it is a living and vulnerable thing. Its indigenous species of fauna and flora are as much threatened by exotic and feral species as by mankind and his desire to exploit the identified resources.

Australia is still a net user of other nations' forest products to the tune of $1.5 billion a year yet still has approximately the third highest per capita forest resources. I have instituted an action strategy to address this issue.

Mr Yeadon is putting up a smoke screen to hide his embarrassment arising from his Government's failed forest initiatives, and his failure to bully the Commonwealth Government into funding his unilateral decision which contravenes the Regional Forest Agreement procedures.

Further inquiries:

Graeme Hallett

Minister’s office

0419 688 440