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Speech on moving to ban native forest logging nationwide

On Tuesday 25 March 2024, I made a speech in Federal Parliament moving an amendment to ban native forest logging nationwide. You can watch the full speech here or read the transcript below.


I move the amendment as circulated in my name:

That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

“whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House:

notes that:

each year around 300 000 hectares of Australia’s native forests and woodlands are lost to logging and land clearing;

if Australia ceased all logging of native forests, the avoided emissions alone would be close to what is needed annually (15.5 Mt CO2) to achieve our national target of a 43% reduction on 2005 levels of emission by 2030; and

Australia's native forests are among the most carbon-dense in the world; and

calls on the Government to end native forest logging immediately”.

Australia's native forests are unique and beautiful. They are home to some of our most iconic wildlife. They are the lungs of our country. They store enormous amounts of carbon. They are unceded country for traditional owners, with precious totems and songlines woven through them. Protecting them means acting on the climate emergency, protecting our water supplies, lessening bushfire risk, saving threatened species from extinction and preserving the places that we Australians love.

Labor and LNP governments have permitted and overseen decades of native forest logging that destroys intact forest and releases over 11 million tonnes of carbon each year. This is the result of agreements between the federal government and states and territories. These agreements have created legal loopholes for native forest logging even where threatened animals and plants are killed and destroyed. Labor has broken its promise to strengthen our national environment laws, which means they plan for this destructive logging to continue in Tasmania and New South Wales. Logging has mostly stopped in Victoria and Western Australia because of the efforts of community campaigners, First Nations groups and the Greens. However, forests are still under threat in these states from destructive forest management activities, including salvage logging, thinning and excessive burning.

Logging native forests is uneconomic and unsustainable. The only reason this damaging money-wasting activity continues is because it is propped up by massive government subsidies. Our tax dollars are facilitating these unviable, destructive operations. We must support regional workers and communities through a just transition away from industries that are fuelling climate change and towards ecologically restorative jobs. This includes completing the transition of the timber industry from being 90 per cent based on plantations and farm forestry to 100 per cent.

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