A SELECT Committee into log exports will be established after Labor shadow forestry minister Clare Scriven’s original motion was supported in an amended form by the entire Legislative Council.
Ms Scriven will serve on the five-member committee alongside Labor colleague Russell Wortley, Liberal MLCs Terry Stephens and Dennis Hood and SA-Best crossbencher Frank Pangallo.
The committee will investigate whether log exports are in compliance with lease agreements, with particular reference to volume, supply agreements and options for increasing log availability.
Amendments introduced to Parliament by Mr Pangallo has further broadened the scope of the original inquiry, which will also provide the committee with power to inquire into opportunities to strengthen the forest and timber products industries.
Mr Bell, who originally introduced the motion into the lower house where it was rejected by the State Liberals, said an inquiry would help in allaying fears as well as provide “some transparency and clarification” for industry stakeholders.
“I have listened to concerns from our timber processors and the local community and this is an opportunity for those concerns to be heard,” he said.
“The timber industry is one of the Limestone Coast’s key economic drivers and many families and businesses rely on it for their livelihood.
“I’m pleased the scope of the inquiry has been broadened to include strategies to grow and develop the sector, including boosting investment, expanding plantation estates and growing local manufacturing.
“Strengthening our economy and boosting local jobs is a matter for everyone in the Limestone Coast region and I look forward to seeing the inquiry begin.
“As the local member, it is my job to stand up and fight for our region.”
South Australian Timber Processors Association chief executive David Quill welcomed the motion, giving a nod to Mr Bell for introducing the motion in the lower house.
“It is good news the motion, originally introduced by our local independent MP, has passed,” he said.
“From a bipartisan point of view, we are represented by an independent MP in the lower house and a Labor representative in the upper house who have acted in the best interest of our community.”