Forestry Bill 2018

Legislative Council Hansard – 20 June 2018


Ms DAWN WALKER (01:57): I move The Greens amendment 


Phasing-out of forestry operations on Crown-timber land

On and from 1 January 2022, this Act (including any licence under this Act) does not authorise forestry operations to be carried out on any Crown-timber land that is not a plantation.


The Hon. MICK VEITCH (02:01): The Opposition will not support the amendment. One of the main reasons for that is the date proposed in the amendment: 1 January 2022. A time frame would be required to transition a range of communities across to whatever the operating environment would be after that date and a plan would need to go with it. There would be a budgeting process because adjustment packages would be required. With that date, it is just not practical. Therefore, the Opposition will not support the amendment.

The Hon. PENNY SHARPE (02:05): I understand why The Greens moved this amendment, but this is not the way to deal with the issues they raise here. To suggest at the end of consideration of this bill that we simply cease logging native forests—with no transition plan, with no consultation with the communities affected and without any analysis of what would happen as a result of pulling this date out of the air—is simply irresponsible. The difference between Labor and The Greens on all these matters is that we do not throw communities under the bus when we have to make difficult decisions.

The Hon. PENNY SHARPE: There was a proper package and there were negotiations about that, as there has been with every other change Labor has made.

The CHAIR: Order! The Hon. Penny Sharpe will not address her remarks across the Chamber. If the Hon. Dr Peter Phelps continues to interject I will call him to order for the second time.

The Hon. PENNY SHARPE: In all the conservation work that Labor has done over many years there have been negotiations, significant transition plans and consultations—whether it was the Regional Forest Agreements, whether it was the Pilliga, whether it was river red gums or all the other conservation efforts we have made. It is not good enough simply to stand up in the Chamber and say, "We want to save the forests so we are just going to knock over the industry" without addressing any of those issues. It is not okay; it is not the way to do it. That is why Labor will not support the amendment.

If The Greens want to talk about native logging, we are happy to have a very good discussion about it. But we are not going to put up with a stunt like this that, frankly, demeans The Greens' efforts and the sincere beliefs that I know they have in relation to these matters. The Greens have to think this through. If they are serious about doing the right thing by communities, they just cannot bring forward amendments like this—not thought out, no discussion, no consultation. We will not support something like this.

Ms DAWN WALKER (02:07): I want to—

Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile: Apologise.

Ms DAWN WALKER: I want to apologise that it took me so long to move this amendment, and that it was not done up-front and passed. Then we could all be at home knowing our forests were safe. Instead, we are here at 2.00 a.m. still talking about how we are going to phase out this industry.

The Hon. John Graham: I'm not.

Ms DAWN WALKER: You are because we are, and we have a right to raise this issue. It needs to be raised. I object to this amendment being described and characterised as a stunt. It is not a stunt; it is an amendment saying that we need to phase out this industry. If that date, which was provided to us by the environmental movement, is the sticking point, I am very open to hear from Opposition members what date would be palatable to them to enable them to help pass this amendment.

The Hon. JOHN GRAHAM (02:08): The Opposition simply says that this is not the way to deal with this issue, with the lives of these workers and with the fate of these towns. Imagine if we passed this amendment. It is 2.00 a.m. now and on the 6.00 a.m. radio news the workers in these mill towns would discover they are out of a job.

When these people lose their jobs, they will not necessarily find another one. If you live in one of these towns doing one of these jobs it is not easy to find another job. That will be the consequence if we pass this amendment. It is irresponsible to proceed in this way. We should have a proper discussion, a proper transition, a plan for the workers and a plan for the towns. This amendment would shut down the industry at Christmas in 2021. It is totally irresponsible. We are not going to engage in a debate about which date would be appropriate. This is not a negotiation to conduct in this House at this time.

It is an alarming approach. The only thing that would be more alarming for some of these towns would be to see the workers' friend—I refer to the Hon. Dr Peter Phelps—coming over the hill trying to represent their interests. I noted his comments earlier in the debate, and I say to members of the Forestry Division of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union [CFMMEU] that if they see a bloke come wandering along the road talking about free speech and wearing shiny boots, run a mile.