Two divisive bills set to be debated in the Tasmania’s Upper House have been “Put on the shelf” for at least a month, raising the suspicion of some MLCs. On Thursday the Legislative Council was halfway through debating changes to the Anti-Discrimination Act and was set to begin the Unlocking Production Forests Bill, after receiving briefings from key players for the last two weeks.
In March the Government succeeded in chaperoning the forestry bill, which will reopen areas of forest to logging, past the Lower House after a marathon debate into the early hours of the morning.
The need for the bill to become law has been a recurrent theme of Resources Minister Guy Barnett, who has stressed the move is necessary in order to “Save up to 700 jobs” and “Strengthen resource security”.
MLCs used Question Time to express their confusion and displeasure that the bills had now been taken off the agenda.
“I left the house last night thinking we would debate the bill. I prepared all night for what I was going to say.”
Labor MLC Craig Farrell said it was unclear when the bills would be brought back for debate.
Leader of Government Business Leonie Hiscutt told members the Aboriginal Relics Act had now been prioritised, despite some MLCs indicating they were not ready to debate the bill.