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Friday analysis: another Greens publicity stunt another time waster for Tas parliament

Cassy O’Connor Greens Tasmania

Why do the Greens do it? Why do they even bother? Why do they waste so much valuable time on little more than pointless publicity stunts? It’s probably because they can.

This week it was a Bill the Greens leader in Tasmania Cassy O’Connor introduced the Forest Management Amendment (Minimum Sawlog Quota Repeal) Bill 2021, which, if passed, would have abolished Section 16 of the Forest Management Act 2013.

In other words, it sought to tear up the legislated quota of 137,000 cubic metres of high-quality sawlogs every year until 2027.

Shadow Resources Minister Shane Broad said if successful, the Greens’ Bill would have destroyed the Tasmanian native timber industry with no consultation or compensation.

“This Bill threatened the whole Tasmanian native timber industry and could have resulted in thousands of timber workers waking up tomorrow without jobs, with absolutely no warning,” he said.

Mr Broad said it was a stunt designed to fail.

Of course, it was destined to fail.

The Greens foreshadowed their intentions back in early September they would introduce this silly Bill.

Resources Minister Guy Barnett was quick to point a possible irony that Ms O’Conner’s Bill sought to abolish quotas established under a previous Labor-Greens government.

Parliaments must be open to all parties and members to introduce Bills that are seen as worthy, if sometimes dull.

That is a desirable mechanism and one which should be protected.

But it should not be made available for shameless publicity stunts such as this one.

At the end of the day the Greens were probably thoroughly pleased with themselves and full of “that showed ‘em” rhetoric.

But all they really did was waste the Tasmanian Parliament’s time on a pointless venture which has done little more than make them feel good about themselves, and further alienate them from the average bloke in the street.

Meanwhile, back in the “real world” the newly created Timber Framing Collective will attempt to shift the housing timber shortage discussion to a demand challenge rather than a supply issue.

It has been mentioned elsewhere – perhaps rather glibly – that we don’t have a timber shortage; we just have an unprecedented demand.

Whatever the cause, the collective is justifiably concerned that the market will move away from timber as the building material of choice.

The campaign is spearheaded by an open letter from the industry, which can be read here: Open Letter_Timber Framing Collective.

It’s a bold move, but right now, it’s the right one.

And it’s not wasting anyone’s time.