Nov 19, 2004

Caucus adopts forest policy principles


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 19 November 2004

Today the Labor Caucus reaffirmed Federal Labor’s commitment to a Tasmania forestry policy that protects the State’s old growth forests while investing in the economic and job security of Tasmanians, ensuring no jobs are lost to the State.

Labor’s approach is a win-win for both the forests and jobs. The principles of the policy adopted by Caucus are:

• A sustainable forestry industry plan developed in consultation with unions and industry and based on the use of plantation timber, selective use of native timber, value-adding and downstream processing;

• No overall loss of jobs in the forestry industry;

• Further protection of identified Tasmanian high conservation-value old growth forests, rainforests and other ecosystems.

Labor’s principles provide for a solution to an issue that has for too long divided the Tasmanian community. Importantly it will ensure the survival of one of our country’s greatest natural assets.

Given the decision of Caucus, I will now continue consulting with all key stakeholders in the Tasmanian community, as well as my Parliamentary colleagues, to finalise the details of the policy Labor will take forward. The discussions I have already had have been both constructive and positive, as was today’s Caucus debate.

In additional to the Tasmanian forests, the Labor Caucus also reaffirmed Labor’s commitment to:

• Australia’s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol;

• Delivering national legislation and a regulatory framework to underpin carbon trading;

• Increasing environmental flows in the Murray River to achieve the goal of an additional 1500gl in the Murray River;

• Increasing the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target initially by 5% by 2010, with room to consider refinements to the target as 2010 approaches;

• The protection of the Great Barrier Reef through expanded protection as outlined in our 2004 election policy;

• World Heritage listing of suitable areas of Cape York and for the buyback of suitable areas of Cape York and the Daintree;

• The phasing out of plastic shopping bags with a legislated ban if necessary;

• The handing over of Point Nepean to the Victorian Government for a National Park.