Ms GIDDINGS - Mr Speaker, now we have quite an interesting question coming from the Leader of the Opposition who has rubbished and bagged the very process that has come out of the decision of Gunns to look at handing back their licences and the Statement of Principles. What the member does not understand is that the whole Statement of Principles process that he has bagged time and time again is also about trying to assist Gunns to get their Previous Hitpulp mill up, with no thanks to the Opposition. What we would say here -
Mr Hidding - This is interesting; put a bit more on the record here about what this is really all about.
Ms GIDDINGS - I am very happy to, because what has happened with Gunns as a company - and if you had been speaking to Gunns you would know this yourselves - is that they want to move out of any native forestry harvesting to give them the best leg-up they can have with a new Previous Hitpulp millNext Hit in this State that is very clearly not going to use native forests to create the pulp. That is why all of this has been triggered. Gunns has said it is going to hand back its licences to harvest native timber. Through that process we have ended up with the environmental groups and industry, coming around the table to discuss what will happen with the restructuring of the forest industry. The Government has created the time and space for those discussions to occur which the Opposition has tried to undermine consistently by never supporting the Statement of Principles process.
Certainly the Labor Party has been very supportive of Gunns trying to get the Previous Hitpulp millNext Hit built in this State, regardless of the Opposition just playing politics on this issue, as they do on many issues. We support the fact that Gunns is moving out of native forestry. We are also very mindful of the fact that what is happening in forestry is also being driven by the world market which Gunns is responding to by not having any native forest timber go into a potential Previous Hitpulp millNext Hit in this State.
Mr Speaker, the Opposition Leader is not even interested in the answer to the question he has asked.
From Hansard: HERE
• Vica Bayley:
Media Release - 19 May 2011
Giddings Government not negotiating; signatories in limbo until it does
Following her reactive attacks on the Wilderness Society yesterday, the society reiterated its call on Premier Lara Giddings to commit to negotiations with Forest Agreement signatories and the Federal Government.
Tasmanian Campaign manager Vica Bayley said the Wilderness Society will willingly return to talks when the Governments commit to turn up and engage in genuine negotiations with signatories.
“The Tasmanian Government has not delivered. There are currently no negotiations going on as the government has left signatories in limbo, waiting for a response that demonstrates leadership and a genuine commitment to negotiating outcomes.
The irony of the Premiers statements is that there is currently no negotiation, and there cannot be until she commits her government to a negotiation over implementation of the Principles.
Environment groups, the forestry industry and unions produced an agreement last October and then turned to the state and federal governments to take real steps and make the necessary reforms to end the three decade-long dispute over Tasmania’s forests.
“The Wilderness Society remains committed to the Statement of Principles and an end to the entrenched battles over Tasmania’s iconic native forests. To achieve the historic opportunity that is on offer involves genuine commitment from all parties and so far government has failed to deliver,” continued Mr Bayley.
This failure is demonstrated by the absence of a moratorium on logging.
“Right now, logging and road construction is happening in areas such as the Arve Valley, the Tarkine and even Bruny Island. These are iconic native forests that should be part of the agreed moratorium, but the state government continues to oversee their destruction.
“Not enough is being done by the Giddings Government to ensure wood is supplied from forests outside the moratorium area, and that logging pressure is reduced by working with the Commonwealth to provide an exit for struggling timber workers.”
Tonight the Wilderness Society will continue a series of community forums about the opportunity to resolve Tasmanias forest conflict. Huonville Town Hall, Huonville - 6pm.
• Phill Pullinger:
Governments Need to Act
Environment groups held a peaceful protest today at Julie Collins’ office calling on the State and Federal Governments to act to protect Tasmania’s native forests and secure a positive future for Tasmania.
The groups urged Julie Collins Federal Member for Franklin to call on the Federal Government to act to secure the protection of Tasmania’s native forests.
“It is time for Tasmania’s native forests to get the protection they deserve. Governments must commit to securing proper protection for Tasmania’s native forests in a series of new national parks and reserves,” said Dr Phil Pullinger Director of Environment Tasmania.
Environment Tasmania is committed to the Tasmanian forest peace negotiations and is waiting to work with the State and Federal governments to deliver this once in a life time opportunity. The current process needs to be concluded expeditiously, forest workers and the environment need certainty.
Scott Jordan from the Tarkine Nation Coalition said “Tasmanian communities, will greatly benefit from the protection of Tasmania’s forests. A new Tarkine National Park has the potential to generate hundreds of nature-based tourism jobs for communities across the North-West coast.”
“Tasmania’s forests are worth more standing” said Angie McGowan from The Florentine Protection Society.
This peaceful protest today included Environment Tasmania, Australian Conservation Foundation, The Florentine Protection Society, Nature Photographers Tasmania, and the West Wellington Protection Group.
• Christine Milne:
Senator Christine Milne
Thursday 19 May 2011
Milne backs TWS. Time to get on with process
An immediate moratorium on logging Tasmanian high conservation value forests is needed to provide any hope of a good outcome in forest negotiations, Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne said today.
“The Australian Greens fully support the Wilderness Society’s decision to temporarily suspend engagement in the statement of principles negotiations.
“TWS entered forest negotiations with the same hope felt by thousands of Tasmanians. They were buoyed by a sense of relief that an end to native logging was in sight. But now, the Giddings and Gillard governments are standing by while the foundations crumble of what could still be an historic resolution.
“It is hard to imagine why governments so in need of boosted coffers are continuing to sink millions of dollars into Forestry Tasmania and a dying native forest based industry.
“While thousands of public sector employees dread the outcome of the state budget we have Forestry Tasmania remaining a leach on the public purse.
“This is not the way to manage the precious forests. Make a stand Premier Giddings; support a forest peace deal and end Forestry Tasmania’s destruction of our pristine forests.
“A moratorium protecting 560,000 hectares of HCV forest must immediately be implemented. Without this, more groups will exit the negotiations, and more Tasmanians will grow disenchanted at the ineffective governance of our forests. It is time to get on with the process.”
• Richard Colbeck:
SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries & Forestry
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry and Science
M E D I A R E L E A S E
19 May 2011
Conditions for Wilderness Society to rejoin talks
The Wilderness Society should only be welcomed back into Tasmania’s forestry talks if it agrees to certain conditions, Tasmanian Liberal Senator and Coalition Forestry spokesman Richard Colbeck said.
“Primarily, the Wilderness Society must be prepared to cease its continued public misrepresentation of the process,” Senator Colbeck said.
“This includes distorting the intent and purpose of the moratorium on 560,000 hectares of native forest.
“The Wilderness Society should also commit to entering into genuine negotiations rather than operating via threats and demands.
“It is well acknowledged this is a difficult process. Walking in and out of the negotiations as a tactic or on a whim is disrespectful to the other signatories.
“Some of the other participants may also have their own conditions for the Wilderness Society re-entering the process.
“Suggestions by the Wilderness Society that it will attend the talks with the Federal Government on May 30 if its demands are met demonstrates again how little regard this organisation has for the other signatories.
“It’s all about the Wilderness Society and what they want.
“These conditions should also be applied to the Wilderness Society’s access to any of the $300,000 allocated by the Commonwealth to parties involved in the negotiations.
“If the Wilderness Society does not agree to rejoin as a negotiator, rather than dictator, the $300,000 should be split equally between the nine remaining participants to increase the capacity of the genuine negotiators,” Senator Colbeck said.
• Kim Booth:
FOREST MINISTER STILL CANNOT RULE OUT ANY NEW FORESTRY CONTRACTS
Clarity Necessary for Forest Principles Process
Kim Booth MP
Greens Forestry spokesperson
The Tasmanian Greens today pursued whether or not rogue agency Forestry Tasmania has wilfully attempted to damage the Forest Principles Agreement, by entering into new contracts since the signing of the Forest Principles on 14 December 2010.
Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said this is the fourth time that Forest Minister, Bryan Green, has either refused, or been unable, to answer questions about any new contracts for logging or roading of areas agreed to be reserved under the Forest Principle, being entered into by Forestry Tasmania.
“These are simple and straight forward questions to which the Minister could not provide a straight forward yes or no answer,” Mr Booth said.
“Has Forestry Tasmania entered into any new contracts for the roading, or logging in any area identified as part of the forest area agreed for moratorium?”
“Has Forestry Tasmania entered into any new sales contracts for these areas? And has the Minister now directed his rogue agency Forestry Tasmania to cease this practice?”
“Minister Green has failed now for the fourth time to answer a direct question as to whether Forestry Tasmania continues to log or road into high conservation forests against the Forest Principles agreed areas signed in late 2010, or whether Forestry Tasmania has entered into any new product sales contracts.”
“Either Minister Green is refusing to answer or he cannot because Forestry Tasmania is keeping him in the dark, as he certainly did not look confident when questioned today, that he had any confidence in whatever information he may have been provided on the matter.”
“If Forestry Tasmania can thumb its nose at the Minister, then what is the point of having a Minister if he cannot bring ia rogue agency under control.”
“Who is setting forestry policy? Forestry Tasmania or the Minister?” Mr Booth said.
• George Harris:
170 FOREST WORKERS CHALLENGE GREEN GROUPS AT HUONVILLE PUBLIC MEETING
Jobs of 170 timber workers who attended a public meeting at the Huonville Town hall were ignored as the Wilderness society attempted to justify their walk out on industry peace talks.
Concerns of timber workers, their families and the community were played down by activists who tried to silence genuine questions about the facts on the forest peace deal.
“The Environmentalists refused to agree to stop invading work places and jeopardising worker safety in exchange for being allowed to present their slide show in silence.” woodworker George Harris of the Huon Resource Development Group said
The speakers were unable to answer questions related to workers’ mortgages and the financial future of their families, or sustainable forest management, which frustrated many in the hall.
Workers challenged The Wilderness Society to agree to accept the umpires decision, or would they continue to raise conflict within the local community, yet they repeatedly refused to answer.
The activists were asked to consider the welfare of timber families placed at risk by their illegal protests.
Timber industry supporters were disappointed that the 20 activists from local enviromental groups attempted to inflame what could have been a productive meeting. The activitists continually goaded angry workers who wanted to correct the many false claims made by the speakers.
The tone of the meeting clearly demonstrated that radical environment groups did not speak for the community and that many of their claims did not ring true.
The silent majority has taken the first step to being heard, and have challenged the wilderness society to participate in another public meeting.