Ms SPENDER (Wentworth) (14:48):
My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Water.
This week the Labor government in Victoria said it would end native forest logging, yet Australia has the highest rate of deforestation in the developed world and the federal government allows native forest logging to continue in New South Wales and Tasmania. When will the minister put an end to native forest logging across the whole of Australia?
Ms PLIBERSEK (Sydney—Minister for the Environment and Water) (14:49): I want to thank the member for Wentworth for her question. I know that she is absolutely committed to better environmental protection around Australia and, like us here, as part of the Albanese Labor government, believes that we need to protect more of what's precious, restore more of what's damaged and manage nature better for the future.
She's quite right that we saw some very big news from Victoria during the week, following news from Western Australia a few months ago about their native forest logging industry. I say to the member for Wentworth that we are very supportive and know that it's important to have a forestry industry here in Australia. That's why the Albanese Labor government put $300 million into upgrading the equipment for having more sophisticated forestry uses in Australia, into better training the workforce and, very importantly, into expanding plantations, which already provide about 90 per cent of our forestry needs here in Australia.
On the issue of native forests in New South Wales and other parts of Australia, I think it's very important to acknowledge that forests are very important carbon sequestration providers. They're very important habitat. As the minister for the environment I'm obviously very concerned to ensure that forests that are homes for Leadbeater's possums, greater gliders and koalas, which are endangered now, continue to offer those important homes and habitats for those creatures. We are determined to make sure as we update the environment protection laws that regional forest agreements come under our new national environment standards. We're working very closely with the states, the industry and the conservation movement to make sure that happens