Hansard of the Legislative
Tuesday 10 October
MANAGEMENT OF NATIVE FORESTS
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - I am sympathetic to the intent of this
motion by the member for Western Tiers, Madam President, however
it worries me that while I recognise the need to manage native
forests, if they are to be sustained, it does not mention
Tasmania's big, privately held native forest resource. This
will not be managed at all if it does not have value to land-holders
and I hear what the member was saying about equipment and
that is an interesting point. But privately owned native forest,
much of which has been regularly harvested and sustained since
European settlement, will not have value to land-holders unless
it can produce saleable products. It is all too easy to forget
the vast native forest resource that we have in private hands
Mr Hall - We have talked about that many other times.
Mr FINCH - Did I miss that?
Mr Hall - You did.
Mr FINCH - I will watch the replay. I was otherwise engaged,
as you can understand and I did not realise that we were going
to be here as long as this and it is in fact good to be up
here away from the rumbling stomachs over there.
But harvesting figures in recent years give a distorted picture
partly because of the global financial crisis and very depressed
world markets. However, in 2004-05, native forests on private
land produced 1 726 001 tonnes of sawlogs, veneer and pulpwood.
Figures produced by Private Forests Tasmania are hard to analyse
because grand totals and percentages include plantation hardwood
and softwood production. However, in 2007-08, 42.5 per cent
of Tasmania's total forest production was from private forests.
So looking to the future, Madam President, it is not hard
to see that private forest production may well exceed that
from publicly owned forests.
Madam President, we all know the debate about the Tasmanian
forestry industry is confusing and sometimes deceptive -
Ms Rattray - Also emotive.
Mr FINCH - Yes, absolutely. But I just want to make an example,
there is confusion over what is old-growth and what is not.
The definition of native forest of high conservation value
is a movable feast and I would suggest that the public is
totally confused. But it is quite clear that much of the native
forest on private land is commercial forest. It has been cut
over and usually well-managed for generations. It produces
sawlogs, veneer logs and pulpwood. It produces sufficient
income, or certainly did until the latest industry downturn,
to make it worthwhile for landowners to manage it sustainably
and in many cases, aesthetically. Let us not forget that many
land-holders live near their forests.
In media reporting of the current negotiations over the future
of Tasmania's forest industry, there is often reference to
a ban on native forest harvesting as if all native forests
equated with the Styx and the Florentine valleys. Madam President,
that sort of vague language without distinguishing the different
types of native forests is enough to make farmers with native
forest on their properties panic. If they are going to be
forbidden to harvest their farm forests, what is the use of
them, why manage them and why not let them go in the next
bushfire or do something else with the land?
So, Madam President, I would like to respectfully suggest
to the member for Western Tiers that his motion should include
private as well as public forests and that is easily done
just by deleting the word, 'public' so the motion would then
read that 'this House supports the ongoing, active management
of Tasmania's native forests to deliver triple bottom-line
outcomes into the future.' I would wholeheartedly support
that and I will half-heartedly support the motion that we
have now but you have my support, member for Western Tiers.