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Josh Frydenberg - Liberal for Kooyong
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Questions Without Notice (22 March 2017)

Date: Wednesday, 22 March 2017 2:17 PM
Location: House of Representatives

Mr WILKIE (Denison) (14:17):  My question is to the minister for the environment. Minister, regrettably the Tasmanian government is pursuing legislation to allow logging in 356,000 hectares of protected forests. These forests contain large areas of habitat that are critical to the survival of nationally listed threatened species—wildlife that the minister is responsible for protecting. Can the minister outline what steps he is taking to prevent damage to this habitat, including to the critically endangered swift parrots and giant freshwater lobsters? Can the minister update the House on the Tasmanian government's response to the freshwater lobster recovery plan, which proposes to permanently reserve 30,000 hectares of the publicly owned reserves that are now proposed for logging by the Tasmanian government?

Mr FRYDENBERG (Kooyong—Minister for the Environment and Energy) (14:18):  I thank the member for Denison for his question. I can tell the members of this House and the member for Denison that the Turnbull government is doing more to protect the threatened species of our country than any prior government. We appointed the first-ever Threatened Species Commissioner, Mr Gregory Andrews, who has been able to galvanise more than $210 million, including $150 million to prevent habitat destruction. We have launched the first-ever Threatened Species Strategy. We have launched the first-ever Threatened Species Recovery Fund. Just last month, I was at Taronga Zoo to launch the first-ever Threatened Species Prospectus, which is protecting our quolls, our bilbies and our helmeted honeyeaters.

You asked me about the swift parrots. We are concerned about them because they were recently uplisted to the critically endangered list. We are investing $8 million across Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria to prevent habitat destruction. This includes the construction of hundreds of nest boxes which will protect them against predatory players like the sugar glider.

We are also concerned about the freshwater crayfish and freshwater lobsters. We have put in place our own national recovery plan. We have worked to prevent habitat destruction, including investing $350,000 to prevent invasive weed species. We are also doing a number of other things. We understand that, when it comes to forests, the Regional Forest Agreements have been in place for some two decades, and they work well. We need a balance—ensuring sufficient supply of resources while also ensuring that we protect our environment, our endangered species. So we will continue to work with the Tasmanian government and protect our endangered species through the various measures that we have.

The SPEAKER:  The member for Denison on a point of order?

Mr Wilkie:  Yes—on a point of order. It is to do with—

The SPEAKER:  Has the minister concluded his answer? I am sorry, member for Denison. The minister has indicated he has concluded his answer.


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