Labor Abandons Forestry Workers To Appease The Greens

Labor Abandons Forestry Workers To Appease The Greens

Tasmania Opposition Leader Will Hodgman

Labor-Green Forestry Plan: Close The Industry Without Any Compensation?

Victor P Taffa

Tasmania Premier David Bartlett must say how the Statement of Principles can proceed, given that the Federal Government has ruled out providing any financial assistance to implement it.

Labor have already abandoned the industry and jobs to appease the Greens, now it appears their Federal colleagues are doing the same.

“Labor and the Greens are now effectively saying that not only will you lose your businesses and jobs, but that you won’t get compensation for doing so.” Will Hodgman Opposition Leader said today.

 

How could David Bartlett have put his support behind this set of principles without getting any assurances from his Federal colleagues?

“It just shows how much David Bartlett is captive to Nick McKim and the Greens’ Anti-Forestry Agenda.” Mr. Hodgman said.

“It adds to the confusion and crippling uncertainty for the industry and timber workers, who must by now be wondering just exactly what David Bartlett has got them into.”

In contrast, the Liberal’s balanced, 13-Point Plan provides a clear path for the Forest Industry, providing job security for timber workers and their Regional Communities, as well as improving environmental outcomes.

On top of this, it can be implemented without the hundreds of Millions of Dollars required under the Statement of Principles.

“I urge Mr. Bartlett to show some ticker, stand up to Green Leader Nick McKim, and do the right thing by Tasmania’s Forest Industry and their communities by adopting the Liberals’ 13-Point Plan.” Mr. Hodgman said.

 

THE LIBERAL’S 13-POINT PLAN FOR TASMANIA’S FOREST INDUSTRY

 

1. Jobs and Regional Communities Come First;

 While the Liberals support improved environmental outcomes, regional jobs and Regional communities must not be sacrificed on the altar of political self-interest;

 2. Government Must take a Leadership Role;

Government should not out-source the future of our state-owned resource to an unelected group of Big Business, Big Environment and Big Union;

3. A full socio-economic and environmental study should be undertaken;

Science should drive decisions, not politics. A full socio-economic and environmental study of any proposed changes must be undertaken before the changes are made. This should be undertaken by a credible third party with an understanding of Tasmania;

4. Native forest harvesting in Tasmania should continue for perpetuity;

Our native forests are an asset which can and should be managed for all their values into perpetuity – including harvesting. It makes no sense to lock up our native forests to deal with short-term adjustment and commercial imperatives, and instead cover our productive farmland with monoculture plantations;

5. Up to 150,000 hectares of high conservation value forests, including old growth forests such as the Styx, Weld Valley, and Florentine can be locked up;

Following the commercial decision of Gunns to end native forest harvesting, once resource supply, including room for growth, is secured for the remaining operators, it is expected that some of Gunns sawlog allocation can be retired. This means that most of our remaining old growth forest can be preserved and protected (apart from a specific and small speciality timbers resource), as identified through the socio-economic and environmental study;

6. All discussions must be open and transparent;

Dialogue and development of practical solutions should be between all stakeholders in an open and transparent process, with strict timelines;

7. There must be minimal State Public expenditure;

The State Government should not be in the business of buying out forestry industry jobs. However, exceptions may need to be made for forest contractors who continue to suffer from reduced volumes;

8. Private forest operations must not be compromised;

Private forests contribute annually between 30-40 % of Tasmania’s native forest production, and are a critical part of our future forest industry;

 9. A new 20-year rolling RFA should be negotiated with the Federal Government;

The final outcome should be formalised in a new, 20 year rolling Regional Forest Agreement to ensure ongoing resource security and investment; 

10. We can have a pulp mill and native forest harvesting too;

Tasmania can have a pulp mill and native forest harvesting. We don’t need to and shouldn’t exchange our existing forestry jobs and their communities for a plantation feed pulp mill, which will add value and local jobs to our lowest value, commodity (woodchip) resource;

 11. Comprehensive and properly funded forest management strategies need to be developed;

 If we are going to reserve more forest, it needs to be properly managed, not allowed to turn into a bushfire time-bomb;

12. Alternative uses for wood-waste need to be seriously examined;

As well as woodchip exports, alternative wood waste uses such as biomass and biofuel need to be seriously examined;

 13. Innovation, research and development must drive our forest industry.

The industry must continue to invest in innovation, research and development in order to remain competitive and add maximum value to our forest resource. As part of this, the Government should consider establishing a Forestry School of Excellence, and should continue to support the Forestry CRC.