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Labor finally ends silence on deforestation.

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The Hon Greg Hunt MP Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Urban Water (to 22 September 2008)

Today we saw the Government finally end its silence on the benefits of curbing deforestation as one of the most important and immediate measures in combating climate change.

I call on the Government to now join us in supporting plans for a Global Rainforest Recovery Plan which I announced at Bali with the Leader of the Opposition, Dr Nelson.

The Coalition Government recognised the benefits of reducing deforestation with its $200 million Global Initiative on Forests and Climate.

The Initiative was set up to support practical and immediate action to reduce global deforestation and promote reforestation.

At APEC we also established the Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation to enhance and strengthen information-sharing in the forestry sector.

So I was pleased to see the Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, today finally acknowledge that importance of tackling the issue.

But only after failing to mention deforestation when she delivered a speech to the Australian Industry Group on 6 February 2008 in a paper entitled Climate Change: A Responsibility Agenda.

It was part of a pattern of silence from the Government on deforestation since it came to office.

Today's announcement of a partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative follows the leadership set by the Coalition in combating global deforestation.