Tasmanian Times

Economy

Libs promise $7 million for forestry

A LIBERAL government would pump $7 million into the protection of forest resources and extend the Regional Forest Agreement 20 years beyond its 2017 expiry.

This morning, Opposition Leader Will Hodgman committed the Liberals to:

– $600,000 to establish a Forest Industry Mediation Service to resolve small disputes between forest contractors and forest companies.

– $1.2 million to provide immediate short term assistance to forest contractors out of work as a result of the down-turn in woodchip sales.

– $750,000 per year to support the Tasmanian Timber Brand.

– $2 million to implement the Forest and Forest Industry Councils Forest Industry Plan;

– 500,000 to support the extension of chain of custody certification to processors and forest certification to all private forest growers who are selling their products internationally.

– $300,000 to allow ForestWorks Tasmania to continue operation (it currently ceases in September 2010).

Read more HERE

REACTION:

Our Common Ground
Tuesday 2nd March 2010

Liberals forest policy pretends world has stood still

Our Common Ground says today’s forestry policy from the Liberals misses the reality and pretends the world has not moved on.

While other timber economies like Queensland, New Zealand and Canada have adapted to changing world markets, the Liberals chose instead to point fingers about why markets for pulped native forests are drying up.

“The Liberal Party just doesn’t get it,” said Peter Skillern of Our Common Ground. “The question is not why world markets are changing. The question is how can Tasmania best adapt to the change.”

“Listening to Liberals blame environmentalists for people wanting less timber products from native forests is like listening to the tobacco industry blame doctors for selling fewer cigarettes. It won’t change the fundamentals of supply and demand.”

After reading the Liberals’ policy, Mr. Skillern said it is clear the party thinks that Tasmania operates in a vacuum.

“Tasmania has been stuck in the blame game for too long. And Tasmanians want it to end, so we can protect native forests to keep our brand intact, and enable a 21st Century timber industry to thrive. Unfortunately, the world has moved on while Tasmanian politics has not,” he said.

Mr. Skillern said it is vital that this thinking changes, because old-style approaches have left companies unable to find financing; seen more job losses; imported timber from New Zealand and 20,000 football fields’ worth of native forest logged each year.

“Gunn’s profit is down by 98 per cent, markets are drying up and workers are losing jobs. Only in Tasmania would two major parties cling to the irrational view that a few million dollars will protect old-style interests in the face of such change,” he said.

Our Common Ground is a coalition of community and business leaders, environment groups and timber workers who are committed to finding a solution to the conflict over forestry in Tasmania.

Wildos

MEDIA RELEASE – 2nd March 2010

Liberals rule out ‘real change’ for the logging industry

The Wilderness Society today condemned the Tasmanian Liberals’ forestry policy, describing it as a carbon-copy of Labor’s logging plan and a continuation of the special treatment out-dated politicians have always given to the logging industry./strong>

The Liberals’ plan offers nothing new. It seems to support a continuation of oldgrowth logging, continue the industry’s dependence on taxpayer-subsidies, continue community conflict, and support the burning of Tasmania’s native forests for power generation. The Liberals are also building on Premier Bartlett’s strategy of wedge politics in the lead up to the 20 March election.

“This policy appears more about wedge politics than a credible vision to haul the forestry industry out of its current crisis,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society.

“The Liberals don’t seem to realise that world markets are turning against native forest products.

“Throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars at public relations campaigns to re-brand unsustainable logging as acceptable will not deliver a real solution to the industry’s current crisis.

“The Liberals claim to be offering ‘Real Change’ and that’s exactly what the Tasmanian timber industry desperately needs. But instead of industry reform, Mr Hodgman has come up with more of the same old policies, condemning Tasmania to environmental degradation, social conflict and a continued collapse of an out-of-date industry.

‘Mr Hodgman and Mr Bartlett seem to share a stronger interest in wedge politics and milking community divisions for political gain, than any real desire to bring the timber industry into the 21st Century,” concluded Mr Bayley.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Brenda Rosser

    March 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    The Tasmanian Wilderness Society wrote: ““The Liberals don’t seem to realise that world markets are turning against native forest products.”

    What the TWS refuses to recognise is that sensible people all over the world have turned agains woodchip products as well.

    An overview of the Tasmania electoral choices would see that Lib-Lab-Green-TWS-OCG,ACF,WWF all have woodchips for brains.

    The future does not allow for vast areas of land and water to be used for trivial, easily-replaceable products. WAKE UP!

    The days of wasteful habits of conspicuous consumption are gone. Sorry. I didn’t make it so, but there it is!

  2. Peter

    March 2, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    http://www.examiner.com.au/news/local/news/politics/llewellyn-defends-handling-of-trip-for-chips/1765588.aspx

    Llewellyn defends handling of trip for chips BY ALISON ANDREWS CHIEF POLITICAL REPORTER
    03 Mar, 2010 08:35 AM

    RESOURCES Minister David Llewellyn was forced to defend his handling of potential Tasmanian woodchip sales yesterday as a row erupted over which political party would best protect forestry jobs.

    Mr Llewellyn said at a hastily called press conference that he had believed that a sale was imminent when he announced earlier this month that an agreement had been reached with Asian markets to take 800,000 tonnes of Tasmanian woodchips.

    The news was welcomed at the time by an industry rocked by the shutdown of two Gunns woodchip mills because of a lack of demand from the company’s traditional Japanese markets.

    Opposition Leader Will Hodgman yesterday used the announcement of the Liberals’ forestry policy to urge Gunns to make every effort to secure financial closure on its proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill.

    In a plan that mirrored Labor’s released the day before, Mr Hodgman said that the Liberals’ plan included $1.2 million for immediate short-term assistance to forest contractors out of work as a result of the downturn in woodchip sales.

    It is understood that Labor brought forward its Tuesday announcement of an extra $1.2 million assistance for forest contractors struggling to meet equipment payments to beat the Liberals’ forestry policy release.

    Mr Llewellyn conceded yesterday that there had never been a firm market for the specified 800,000 tonnes of woodchips.

    He said that the amount had been settled upon originally by the Government and the companies as the tonnage that was available to sell.

    “It was then for Gunns to make a commercial deal and finalise that,” he said.

    In fact Gunns representatives were back in Japan this week trying to close negotiations on woodchip sales, Mr Llewellyn said.

    He said that sales had proved difficult to secure in recent times because of “sabotage of our markets by extreme green elements that had been spreading misinformation around Japan”.

    But he said that lack of sales had also been due to the high price of the Australian dollar and the global financial crisis.
    The Liberals had agreed yesterday to make available immediately the extra $1.2 million as well as the previously announced $600,000 for forest contractors while the Government was in caretaker mode, Mr Llewellyn said.

  3. salamander

    March 1, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    All the talk of clever, etc matters not a whit when it comes to forestry and forestry jobs. Terminal stupidity seems to have gripped LibLab brains (where a brain exists). A shame the forestry workers are not more connected to reality as well.

  4. Clive Stott

    March 1, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Old ideas instead of old growth forests.
    Wedge politics instead of wedge-tailed eagles. Great!

  5. David Obendorf

    March 1, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Surprise surprise – Back to the future with Lib/Lab tag team.

    Lots of ‘common ground’ here!

    Tweedledum & Tweedledummer! Shame on you both.

    No vision from the Liberals; probably been intimidated & bullied into upping their pitch to voters after Bartlett’s RFA renewal hoax.

    Taz-mania’s pollies, nothing better than addicted poker players gambling out to 2037!

    Must really feel good for Dave and Will to do this!

  6. Pete Godfrey

    March 1, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Surely no one will be conned by this malarky.
    $1.2 million divided amongst the 6000 forest workers( who must all be disadvantaged by the current Czars inability to move into a sustainable basis) equals a Massive $200 each.
    Hope they don’t live too high on the hog.
    The FFIC Old Forest Industry on Steroids policy doesn’t need any government money it all hinges on mythical beings called investors who will ride in and see the great advantages of continuing the slash and burn policies in the Tasmanian Forests.
    Keep Dreaming Will.

  7. Mike Adams

    March 1, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Yes, yes, we know all that. But do the merry voters of Scottsdale, heavily encouraged by Scott McLean, know it? And if some do, they may well be encouraged to wonder how much more can they squeeze out of our dumb pollies before it sinks in?

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