The Deputy Premier Bryan Green today announced Forestry Tasmania will remain a standalone corporate entity responsible for commercial wood harvesting and land management of production State forest as part of a major restructure of the business.
“Confirming the future management of the State’s production forest estate was a top priority in determining the best way forward for Forestry Tasmania,” Mr Green said.
“This will provide certainty for the business and importantly Forestry Tasmania staff.
“Forestry Tasmania and its people are absolutely crucial to Tasmania’s forest industry and I am confident we will see a strong and viable FT emerge from the restructure.
“Forestry Tasmania in its current form is not sustainable which is why it was so important for the Government to take on the challenge of restructuring the business.
Mr Green said Forestry Tasmania’s commercial and non commercial functions would be separated.
“This will allow Forestry Tasmania to focus on its commercial functions and its core business of managing production forests.
“The Government is getting on with the job of restructuring the business and supporting Forestry Tasmania through the transition.
“This is about achieving the best possible outcomes for staff and the business.
“It has been tough for employees, we understand that and it is my hope now that the most difficult times are behind us and together we can move Forestry Tasmania forward to a much stronger future.
Mr Green confirmed Forestry Tasmania would retain independence to manage State forests for commercial wood production following recommendations from the Forestry Tasmania Transition Oversight Committee (FTTOC).
“The Government is steering a responsible course through the worst downturn we have seen in the forest sector.
Mr Green said the Strategic Review of Forestry Tasmania by URS confirmed the business faced cash losses in the order of $20-25 million a year because of the market downturn.
“That is why we made the contingency in this year’s budget to assist Forestry Tasmania should it be needed – support that is not there from the Tasmanian Liberals.
The Government has decided to establish a new statutory parks and reserves authority within the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (under the National Parks and Reserves Management Act), bringing together responsibility for management of national parks, reserves, crown land and carbon in reserves.
“This will include responsibility for agreed areas of non-production forests that are currently managed by Forestry Tasmania.
Further details of the new authority will be announced by the end of the week.
“Settling these arrangements for management of production forests and for management of reserves is consistent with the Government’s commitment to backing in the Tasmanian Forests Agreement.
“The Tasmanian Liberals’ head in the sand approach and do nothing attitude to the challenges facing our forest industry would have a disastrous impact on Forestry Tasmania.
“The Liberals have no credible forest policy and would just stand back and watch the demise of Tasmania’s forest industry,” Mr Green said.
Bryan Green, Deputy Premier