Evans: I need more time for tim­ber Bill

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - NEWS -

NSW Mem­ber for Mur­ray Austin Evans has de­fended the time it is tak­ing to de­velop and ta­ble a Pri­vate Mem­ber’s Bill to re­turn com­mer­cial tim­ber har­vest­ing to the Mur­ray Val­ley Na­tional Park, say­ing it’s a case of need­ing to get it right.

Mr Evans ad­mit­ted it is tak­ing longer than an­tic­i­pated to de­liver on his pre­elec­tion prom­ise to ease the eco­nomic dev­as­ta­tion to the tim­ber in­dus­try and their com­mu­ni­ties as a re­sult of the Na­tional Parks gazettal.

He said it’s be­cause there are ‘‘a lot more sub­tleties and com­plex­i­ties than I first thought’’, but as­sured the lo­cal com­mu­nity the Bill is still on the agenda.

In the mean­time, he said other ‘ loop­holes’ to al­low com­mer­cial har­vest­ing in the Na­tional Parks with­out re­ly­ing on his Bill be­ing fully sup­ported are also be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

Mr Evans has come out in de­fence of his ac­tions after a blast from Shadow Min­is­ter for Pri­mary In­dus­tries Mick Veitch for ‘‘main­tain­ing his vow of si­lence on the Mur­ray Val­ley Na­tional Park’’.

De­spite say­ing he would block Mr Evans’ Bill, Mr Veitch still took the lo­cal mem­ber to task for fail­ing to in­tro­duce his Bill be­fore the win­ter Par­lia­men­tary break.

‘‘De­spite hav­ing had am­ple op­por­tu­nity he has done noth­ing and now one whole par­lia­men­tary ses- sion has lapsed,’’ Mr Veitch said.

‘‘Austin Evans is prov­ing to be a true Na­tion­als MP — he talks tough at home but once in Syd­ney he goes all quiet.

‘‘Austin Evans promised lo­cals that he would be a loud voice for them, but he must have a bad case of laryn­gi­tis be­cause he seems to have lost his voice al­to­gether.’’

Mr Evans said his ‘si­lence’ on the Bill in Par­lia­men­tary sit­tings does not mean work on it is not still con­tin­u­ing.

‘‘I am con­tin­u­ing con­ver­sa­tions with Min­is­ter for Lands and Forestry Paul Toole, the Deputy Premier John Bar­i­laro and the Min­is­ter for En­vi­ron­ment Gabriele Up­ton, and I am still work­ing on the Bill,’’ he said.

‘‘What was done (with the Mur­ray Val­ley Na­tional Park) was a blunt in­stru- ment over a large area — the more I look at it the more clumsy it looks.

‘‘We are look­ing at other op­tions and ideas (con­cur­rent to the Bill’s de­vel­op­ment) and some of the ideas brought for­ward in­clude nil ten­ure.

‘‘I don’t pro­fess to know every­thing about how it will work, but as I un­der­stand it there will be no change in own­er­ship but we may be able to change man­age­ment.

‘‘Some na­tional parks all over the world have this and al­low com­mer­cial har­vest­ing, but we seem to have a ‘lock it up’ at­ti­tude here.’’

Mr Evans has never de­nied that get­ting sup­port for his Bill will be easy, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to the Lib­eral mem­bers of his Coali­tion govern­ment.

He said while he’s made no progress in shoring up num­bers to sup­port his Bill, he be­lieves many sup­port the idea in prin­ci­ple.

‘‘I get the sense I have the gen­eral sup­port, but for those who are wa­ver­ing it will come down to the de­tails,’’ Mr Evans said.

‘‘When I first took this on I had ex­pected to have some­thing fi­nalised sooner than this, but I am learn­ing a lot more about the sub­tleties and com­plex­i­ties.

‘‘I could have put a Bill up in Fe­bru­ary, but it would not have had much sup­port.’’

Mem­ber for Mur­ray Austin Evans.

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