Ms FORREST question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Dr GOODWIN
Under the Tasmanian Forests Agreement Act 2013, a special advisory committee was established. When this act was repealed in 2014, a ministerial statement announced the establishment of a ministerial council on forestry. The ministerial statement, issued on 16 August 2014, stated:
This council will work directly with the Government and provide important advice in order to increase the value of Tasmania's forest industry and create jobs. Its responsibilities will include informing the Government on issues within the industry, identify what obstacles there are to growing the sector, what future opportunities exist and provide support for the industry in markets and the community.
Who are the current members of the ministerial council on forestry? Is there a ministerial charter document, agreement or other document that sets out the council's roles and responsibilities? If so, what are the roles and responsibilities? If not, what are the roles and responsibilities and how are these articulated and communicated to the ministerial council on forestry? If any such document reflects the ministerial statement, why is the council also commenting on and considering the future of Forestry Tasmania? Are members paid an allowance or payment of any kind to sit on this council? If so, what payments are made and for what purpose and how much has been paid to date to fund the operations of this ministerial council?
Mr President, I thank the honourable member for Murchison for her question.
The current members of the ministerial council on forestry are: Sue Smith, Deputy Chair; Robert Torenius, Tasmanian Sawmillers Association; Wayne Johnston, Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association; Pavel Ruzicka, Tasmanian Special Timbers Alliance; Terry Edwards from FIAT; Steve Whiteley, Forestry Tasmania; Mark Hunt from the University of Tasmania; Tom Fisk from Private Forests Tasmania; and Karen Hall from the Tasmanian Forest Contractors Association.
The Ministerial Advisory Council on Forestry operates under a terms of reference. Under the terms of reference, the council is responsible for informing the minister on issues affecting forests and the forest industry, including third party certification, resource security, supply chain security, residue markets, value-adding and market security; advising the minister on opportunities for and impediments to growth of Tasmania's forest industry; support for Tasmania's forest industry in the community and markets; and advising the minister on key operational and strategic policy direction/requirements relating to forests and the forest industry including a strategic forest industry growth plan.
Forestry Tasmania has an integral role in making available timbers from Tasmania's public forests for the forest industry. It is entirely appropriate that the council and individual members of the council should be providing the minister with their advice and views with regard to issues affecting the forest industry. The future of Forestry Tasmania is clearly relevant to that advice and consistent with the terms of reference.
Members who are not State Service officers or State Service employees are reimbursed for travel expenses, based on a kilometre rate, and where overnight accommodation is required, an accommodation and meals allowance. The Deputy Chair receives remuneration of $37 821 a year in addition to the allowances previously described. A total of $152 000 has been paid to fund the operations of the ministerial council this financial year which includes salary costs of departmental staff to support the operation of the council.