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Tuckey announces financial support for Queensland native hardwood industry.



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Media Releases The Hon Wilson Tuckey MP Minister for Forestry and Conservation

AFFA00/68TU 2 October 2000

TUCKEY ANNOUNCES FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR QUEENSLAND NATIVE HARDWOOD INDUSTRY

The Federal Minister for Forestry and Conservation, Wilson Tuckey, announced today a $5 million program to support the native hardwood timber industry in south east Queensland.

Despite the refusal of the Queensland Government to negotiate a Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) in accordance with the National Forest Policy Statement signed by former Premier Wayne Goss in 1992, the Queensland timber industry deserves Commonwealth assistance to create new employment opportunities through value adding the timber resource.

The amount provided is less than would have been available under an RFA, but I note that that Premier Beattie has undertaken to bear the full cost of his "go it alone" arrangements.

Unfortunately, as is also the case with Premier Beattie's promise to compensate landholders for his recent land clearing legislation, the dollars have not been forthcoming.

The Commonwealth remains willing to negotiate an RFA based on the maintenance of a sustainable native timber industry and notes that the Queensland Opposition has put forward a plan for this to occur.

In the meantime, south east Queensland timber workers should not have to bear the pain of Beattie's intransigence.

This Commonwealth funding will leverage around $20 million of new development in regional towns and create several hundred new jobs for local people.

So far Beattie's forestry arrangements have resulted in the loss of jobs in the industry in regional towns right across south east Queensland. His promise of a 5 per cent unemployment rate is in tatters as Queensland lags the rest of Australia in employment growth.

The guidelines for the Commonwealth's south east Queensland Forest Industry Development Program are to be sent direct to timber operators throughout the region and also advertised in the regional press.

Further inquires:

Mr Tuckey's office: Graeme Hallett 0419 688 440

URL http://www.affa.gov.au/tuckey/releases

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