Recently, I visited the Burnie wharf with sawmillers and timber merchants (video above). They were shocked at the sight of logs that could have kept a generation of small family owned sawmill in business but were now splitting up in the sun and wind, going to waste.
Last week’s visit was a direct result of my questioning of Forestry Tasmania in the Government Business Enterprise Scrutiny Committees late last year. I challenged Forestry Tasmania to give me access to the wharf so that we could prove that they were needlessly wasting what could be valuable logs.
The Tasmanian Greens today secured a commitment from Forestry Tasmania that small local saw millers would be provided with ongoing access to eucalypt and special species timbers that would otherwise be exported as whole logs.
Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP visited the Burnie wharf today with Forestry Tasmania chairman Bob Annells and a group of local saw millers, to inspect the logs stacked up for export, and assess their suitability for sawmilling.
“I am pleased today to have secured on behalf of local saw millers a commitment from Forestry Tasmania to provide ongoing access to this extremely valuable timber resource,” Mr Booth said.
“Saw millers have been trying for years to get access to export logs that have been left to split up behind locked gates in places like the Burnie wharf, and at Brighton and Leslie Vale.”
“The Greens have long held concerns about Forestry Tasmania’s appalling wasting of special species timbers, which has come at the cost of local jobs and the public purse.”
“These logs are far too good to sell to China for peanuts, so I am very pleased that they will be made available for local sawmillers, builders and craftspeople.”
“We are also pleased that Forestry Tasmania has agreed to provide three log truck loads of mixed species eucalypt, myrtle and blackwood for a sawing trial.”
“The trial will be carried out between Forest Tasmania, myself and a private saw miller and I am confident it will show that these logs are more than suitable for a whole range of high value sawn timber products.”
“It was a very productive day, and I would like to thank the chairman of Forestry Tasmania for agreeing to see the matters I have raised firsthand.”
“I would also like to thank the saw millers, contractors and Forestry Tasmania personnel who attended today, and for their assistance and goodwill on this matter,” Mr Booth said.
Today Premier Lara Giddings and I invited Tasmanians to have their say on the ability of people suffering terminal illness to die with dignity, releasing a consultation paper on the matter.
The paper puts forward a model for voluntary assisted dying and is designed to inform public debate, and seek feedback, ahead of the drafting of a joint Private Members Bill later this year.
As I stated when summarising the debate on my Dying with Dignity Bill 2009, the law is meant to protect the quality of our lives while we are alive, and it should also protect the quality of our lives while we are dying. Currently the law fails to do this.
During my first attempt at reform in 2009 I was deeply moved by listening to the experiences of many terminally ill people and their families. I pledged to them that I would not give up and I haven’t.
Greens Emergency Services Spokesperson
The Greens Leader Nick McKim MP and Greens Emergency Services spokesperson Paul O’Halloran MP today paid tribute to the Victorian firefighter who tragically died whilst in Tasmania to fight the bushfires.
“The Tasmanian Greens are deeply saddened by the tragic death of a Victorian firefighter in Tasmania,” Mr McKim said.
“On behalf of all Greens MPs, I want to extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends, and to his colleagues who continue to fight the bushfires in Tasmania.”
“He left his home in Victoria to help protect the people of Tasmania from bushfire, and the people of Tasmania will never forget his selfless contribution to our state.”
Greens Emergency Services spokesperson Paul O’Halloran MP also paid tribute to the firefighter’s contribution.
“This is a tragic reminder of the risks that our emergency service personnel face every day in their line of work,” Mr O’Halloran said.
“They are our first line of defence in a crisis, and their tireless bravery is bringing enormous comfort and hope to the people affected by these bushfires.”