Executive Summary and Recommendations
The Conservation and Land Management Amendment Bill 1999 (CALM Bill) introduces a number of amendments to the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984 while the Forest Products Bill 1999 (Forest Products Bill) establishes a new Forest Products Commission to be responsible for the commercial timber harvesting activities currently being undertaken by the Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM).
Severe time constraints imposed by the Legislative Council prevented the consideration of the entire content of the Bills. The Ecologically Sustainable Development Committee (Committee), guided by the second reading speeches in the Legislative Council, debate on the motion to refer the Bills to the Committee, and the evidence of witnesses, therefore restricted its examination to a number of issues of concern. These were:
the Conservation Commission's functions and more particularly whether it should have a specific function to publish;
membership of the Conservation Commission and how its Commissioners are to be appointed;
the entitlement of the Executive Director of the proposed Department of Conservation to attend meetings of the Conservation Commission;
the power of the Minister to issue directions to the Conservation Commission;
the effect of the expiry date of management plans;
ministerial approval of proposed management plans;
the power of the Executive Director of the proposed Department of Conservation to grant forest leases and licences;
tortious liability in the CALM Act;
meetings of Conservation Commissioners;
disclosure of pecuniary interests by Forest Products and Conservation Commissioners;
the names of the Forest Products Bill and the Forest Products Commission;
responsibility for thinning;
representation of sectorial interests on the Forest Products Commission;
application of the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 to the Forest Products Commission;
whether there is paramountcy of Ministerial directions over the principles of ecologically sustainable development;
the deletion of commercially sensitive material from the statement of corporate intent;
the power of the Forest Products Commission to apply the whole or part of its dividend for its own purposes;
components of the contract price; and
Parliamentary scrutiny of the contracts of the Forest Products Commission.
The Committee expressed doubt that the Committee process would reduce debating time in the Legislative Council on the passage of the two Bills. This is because during deliberations, it became apparent that very little consensus on the issues of concern would be achieved. Nevertheless, the Committee deliberated on the arguments surrounding these issues of concern with the objective of assisting the Legislative Council with informed debate on the two Bills.
The Committee has not examined, and does not purport to agree to, any of the clauses not addressed in detail in this Report.
For this Report, recommendations are made only by unanimous agreement of the Committee. Where the Committee has not agreed on a finding or recommendation, the arguments for and against the issue are outlined, and the matter reserved for debate in the Legislative Council.
As a result of its deliberations, the Committee made only two recommendations.
Recommendations are grouped as they appear in the text at the page number indicated.
Recommendation 1: That the proposed Memorandum of Understanding be tabled in Parliament.
Recommendation 2: That proposed sections 53(2) and (3) be relocated within the body of section 54.