After meeting woodchip buyers in Singapore this morning the Deputy Premier Bryan Green said the facts were irrefutable over the challenges facing Tasmania’s forest industry.
“Mr Hodgman was in the same meetings I was and heard as I did the seriousness of immediate problems we face supplying international markets,” Mr Green said.
“It is clear that if we don’t act to put Tasmania’s forest industry on a secure footing now there will be no industry in the medium to long term.
“A do nothing approach to the forest industry as it stands now is not an option for those businesses suffering as a result of market changes.
“I made it clear at meetings today that the Government will face up to these issues in order to provide certainty for the future.
“What is happening in the market is being made even harder by the high Australian dollar and our distance from markets.
“Given the changing face of forestry in Tasmania with for instance Gunns only using plantation wood it is vitally important that we work towards outcomes through the IGA that give certainty of supply to the broader industry long into the future.
“The Government is endeavouring to reach an agreement through the IGA that supports family-owned sawsmills and the veneer industry.
“We look forward to the outcome of the independent verification process and won’t be playing politics like the Liberals because we will take a responsible approach to moving Tasmania and our forest industry forward,” Mr Green said.
Mr Green said the Government would continue to work with the Commonwealth to secure the industry, diversify the economy and grow jobs.
• And Will Hodgman’s report …
Tasmania’s Opposition Leader says day one of the joint trade mission to Asia has shown there is a strong market for Tasmanian woodchips.
Will Hodgman issued an update of his trip after meeting South-East Asian woodchip buyers in Singapore with the Deputy Premier, Bryan Green.
The Opposition Leader says the meetings highlighted the foolishness of protecting more forests under the forest peace deal because, unlike Thailand and Vietnam, Tasmania can offer an ongoing guaranteed woodchip supply.
Mr Hodgman says the pair also met a senior advisor to new Gunns investor, the Richard Chandler Group, and discussed the strong bi-partisan support for a pulp mill in Tasmania.
The two politicians are scheduled to fly to Japan on Tuesday night.
The Australian Ambassador to Japan will hold a business lunch focussing on the market for pulp and paper products on Wednesday.
• Will Hodgman, Wednesday,Singapore meetings:
Meetings today with South East Asian woodchip buyers confirmed that despite current challenges, the medium to long term market for Tasmanian woodchips is strong, because of our secure resource base.
Although there are current competitive pressures from countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, they do not provide the same ongoing guaranteed supply Tasmania does.
This highlights the foolishness of locking up forever half of our forests, simply for short-term political reasons.
I was also pleased to have the opportunity to meet with a senior corporate adviser to the Chandler Group and demonstrate our strong bi-partisan support for the pulp mill.