Michelle Lensink

Pegler Missing On Forests

Member for Mount Gambier Don Pegler must explain why he made no contribution to the debate on a contentious Bill to licence forests as water users in the last week of Parliament.

In a move that will dramatically affect the forestry industry in the South East, Labor’s Bill seeks to control the allocation of water to forests. Under the changes any new plantation will be required to purchase a water license.

Liberal Deputy Leader Mitch Williams and Shadow Forests Minister Adrian Pederick have both made comprehensive contributions to the debate which indicated their concerns with Labor’s proposal.

The Liberal Party believes the Natural Resources Management (Commercial Forests) Amendment Bill should be immediately referred to the Parliament’s Natural Resources Committee (NRC), of which Mr Pegler is a member, for investigation.

Shadow Environment Minister Michelle Lensink said Mr Pegler should be ashamed he has been silent on this issue.

“Mr Pegler has let down his local constituency by failing to get involved in the debate,” Ms Lensink said.

“Prior to the 2010 election, former Environment Minister and Premier-in-waiting Jay Weatherill had agreed to refer the Bill to the NRC, but it was mysteriously withdrawn from investigation by incoming Minister Paul Caica.

“The failure to reach a conclusion in the Parliament last week has further delayed a resolution creating uncertainty not just for the forestry industry, but for dairy farmers, potato growers, vignerons and other irrigators in the South East.

“Mr Pegler must explain why he has failed to speak out on this important issue.”

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