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Government votes to repudiate national RFA process.

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Laurie Ferguson - Government Votes To Repudiate National RFA Process Friday, 10 August 2001

Government Votes To Repudiate National RFA Process Laurie Ferguson - Shadow Minister for Forestry and Conservation

Media Statement - 9 August 2001

In yet another humiliating rebuff to Minister Tuckey, Coalition Senators have this morning voted to halt the harvesting of native forests.

Shadow Minister for Forestry and Conservation, Laurie Ferguson MP, says the vote exposes the total hypocrisy of the Government on forest policy.

'With tedious regularity, Minister Tuckey has thumped his chest in Question Time to seek to portray himself as the champion of the timber industry,' Mr Ferguson said.

'Again and again he has questioned Labor's continuing commitment to the National Forest Policy Statement and the national Regional Forest Agreements (RFA) process.

'This morning the Government's double-dealing has been exposed.

'In an unprecedented about face Coalition senators voted for Senator Bob Brown's resolution saying that old growth and high conservation forests should never be logged if there is a plantation alternative.

'The motion makes absolutely no reference to the location, type or ownership of the plantation alternative.

'This is a total repudiation of the RFAs that have been signed by the Prime Minister and which Minister Tuckey claims to support.

'If this position was carried to its logical conclusion, the Government faces massive compensation claims from the States under the terms of the RFAs that are in force.

'Minister Tuckey has been ambushed by Senator Hill and his ally Senator Brown.

'He should explain what is going on and tell us:

In what forest areas in NSW, Tasmania and Victoria does the Coalition plan to halt harvesting? ●

How many jobs will be lost and mills closed? ● How much compensation will be payable? ● And, as the Budget makes no provision for such compensation, where is the money coming from?' ● Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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