Question without Notice: Native forest logging
Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) : My question is for the Minister for Agriculture. Minister, native forest logging in Victoria is pushing our threatened species closer to extinction and making climate change worse. With the government continuing to log our native forests, the only thing protecting them right now are citizens defending them on the ground and in the courts. Yet the government is now trying to change laws to stop peaceful protests and to make illegal logging legal. Why is the government—
The SPEAKER: Order! When the house comes to order. There is too much interjection. I ask the member to start his question again.
Mr HIBBINS: Native forest logging in Victoria is pushing threatened species closer to extinction and making climate change worse. With the government continuing to log our native forests, the only thing protecting them right now are citizens defending them on the ground and in the courts, yet the government is now trying to stop peaceful protest and make illegal logging legal. Why is the government continuing to do everything it can to log our native forests instead of protecting them?
Ms Allan: On a point of order, Speaker, perhaps you could give some guidance to the member for Prahran that some of the content of his question was straying into matters that are actually before the house this week for debate and are listed on the government business program in the government’s Sustainable Forests Timber Amendment (Timber Harvesting Safety Zones) Bill 2022. It is indeed sponsored by the Minister for Agriculture into this place. I seek your guidance on whether that question should stand in order given it appeared to pre-empt debate on that bill.
Mr Hibbins: On the point of order, Speaker, the specific question I asked was: why is the government continuing everything it can do to log native forests instead of protecting them? I think it was a fairly wide ranging question in terms of logging, and I think the minister can very easily answer that question without in any way straying into debating the bill before the house.
Mr Blackwood: Further to the point of order, Speaker, the member is not only breaching the conventions of this house, he is also misleading the house with the way he went about his questioning.
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Narracan will resume his seat. It is not an appropriate point of order. I would ask the minister to answer the question without anticipating debate on the bill. The question asked at the end of that preamble was broad enough for the minister to be able to answer it.
Ms THOMAS (Macedon—Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Regional Development): We are not.
Mr HIBBINS : Supplementary question to the Minister for Agriculture. I will pick up that answer from the minister. Is the minister seriously coming into this chamber and telling this chamber that the government is not doing everything it can to log our native forests?
Ms THOMAS: Look, to give the member for Prahran some satisfaction, it is obvious that he has no understanding
whatsoever of our government’s Victorian Forestry Plan and the commitment that we have to a managed transition in our forestry industry, so I can only suggest that the member read the forestry plan. It is very clear that this government has a commitment, on account of the reduction in available timber, to end native forestry here in Victoria by 2030. We understand, and we want to build a strong forestry industry here, but it will be built on plantations. I thank the member for his question and suggest that he inform himself of our government’s commitments