LEGISLATION to enforce yesterday’s historic forestry peace deal was expected to pass the House of Assembly late last night after Labor secured the Greens support.
In the scramble to have the bill debated on State Parliament’s last sitting day the deal was forwarded to the state government with 10 of the 11 required signatures, and an emergency cabinet meeting was held in the morning to approve it.
While Labor supports the entire agreement and accompanying legislation, its minority government partner is only backing the bill.
Greens leader Nick McKim and his fellow minister Cassy O’Connor weren’t at the cabinet meeting as they wanted to run the legislation and agreement past their fellow Greens MHAs first.
Mr McKim said there was disagreement within that last-minute Greens party meeting on whether to support the bill, or not.
A majority did, but Mr McKim made it clear that party didn’t support the entire agreement signed by signatories, including who will be responsible for managing the state’s forests.
“There are elements of the agreement that we think are significant improvements on the current situation, there are other parts of the agreement that don’t deliver on Greens policy,” he said.
“We were not part of negotiations and never have been. We were not asked to sign that agreement. We hold to our party policies.”
The Liberals are continuing their calls to “rip it up”.
Opposition Leader Will Hodgman said the government did not have a mandate for such changes and therefore should call an election to let all Tasmanians decide.
Premier Lara Giddings urged everyone to grasp the opportunity that the deal presented to unite a divided state.
“To those who would seek to prolong the conflict for their own political purposes I say, `Be careful for what you wish for,’ ” she said.
“This is a day on which I hope we will be able to look back and say, `Yes, we were able to move forward as a state. We were able to start to heal the wounds that have divided our state for some 30 years.’ ”
Ms Giddings said the state had already begun discussing extra money that would be required with the Commonwealth, but didn’t detail an amount.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke wants to meet signatories in Canberra next week before commenting in detail.
However, yesterday he said the situation had changed dramatically since he effectively declared the deal was dead a few weeks ago.
“I think we have the main bits of something extraordinary,” Mr Burke said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.