'Arrogance' over forestry bill

THE Tasmanian Greens accused the state government of arrogance yesterday, saying the Liberals had attempted to ram the amended Forestry bill through the House of Assembly without allowing ample time for debate.

The Forestry (rebuilding the forest industry) Bill was returned to the House of Assembly after passing the Legislative Council yesterday morning.

Greens leader Kim Booth argued that the bill had been heavily amended, and that it required more time for debate than the hour allocated by the government.

``The Upper House has made numerous and substantial amendments to this Bill, many of which were moved by the government, which the Lower House has not had the opportunity to examine,'' he said. 

``The Liberals gagged the original debate on this shocker of a Bill when it first came to the Lower House which meant we were prevented examining the Bill in any detail before it was sent to the Legislative Council.''

The government indicated that the short time allocated for the debate had been necessary to prevent delaying the state budget announcement. 

Resources minister Paul Harriss said Labor and the Greens had played political games to prevent the passing of the bill yesterday. 

``They moved a frivolous motion of dissent in the Speaker and threatened to continue to move one after another simply to obstruct this Bill, which would also have delayed the presentation of the Budget,'' he said.

``As such, we had no choice but to reschedule debate on the amended Bill to next week.''

The state government has the numbers to pass the bill when it is voted on in the House of Assembly next week.


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