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Queensland forest communities threatened by uncertainty and indecision.



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TIMBER QUEENSLAND MEDIA RELEASE

Timber Queensland Ltd

500 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006 PO Box 2014, Fortitude Valley BC, QLD 4006 Ph: (07) 3254 1989 Fax: (07) 3254 1964 Email: admin@timberqueensland.com.au Website: www.timberqueensland.com.au

Queensland Forest Communities Threatened by Uncertainty and Indecision

Hundreds of people living in timber industry dependent communities in central and western Queensland face an uncertain future and a bleak Christmas unless decisions are made soon about the future of the Western Hardwoods Region (WHR).

Timber Queensland Chief Executive, Rod McInnes, said that industry had been very reluctant to speak out publicly but was left with little option because of the inordinate time taken to make decisions and the pending expiry of wood supply contracts by December 31st this year.

Mr McInnes said he was at a loss to understand why it had taken so long to make decisions when industry had presented a proposal which would end all native hardwood logging in state owned forests as part of a transition to plantation timber resources in the quickest time possible.

“While elsewhere they have been debating how many hectares of old growth forest to lock up by the middle of the century, the Queensland timber industry has volunteered a transition which would see us out of all state owned native forests - not just old growth - in a fraction of the time.”

“There is no clearfelling here, no woodchipping here, and we’re leading the way with the type of value-adding to which other states are aspiring.”

“The Beattie Government has already established its environmental credentials with the much lauded South East Queensland Forests Agreement (SEQFA) and the opportunity exists to build on that achievement in the Western Hardwoods Region.”

“The industry has been very patient in advancing its proposal within the Statewide Forests Process established by the Beattie Government. However, there is a limit to how long we can endure uncertainty and when the wood supply contracts expire, jobs will obviously be threatened, along with timber mills and the local businesses which rely on them.”

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TIMBER QUEENSLAND MEDIA RELEASE

Timber Queensland Ltd

500 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006 PO Box 2014, Fortitude Valley BC, QLD 4006 Ph: (07) 3254 1989 Fax: (07) 3254 1964 Email: admin@timberqueensland.com.au Website: www.timberqueensland.com.au

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At least a dozen communities are seriously threatened including Emerald, Alpha, Cappella, Monto, Theodore, Mulgildie, Allies Creek, Eidsvold, Mundubbera, Wandoan, Jandowae, Yelarbon and others.

Mr McInnes said that if reasonable decisions were not made soon which advanced environmental objectives whilst protecting communities and jobs, Queensland faced a situation more akin to that seen in Tasmania in recent times.

“The federal election has just provided the unusual spectacle of union workers crossing the political divide after what they viewed as a betrayal of them by the Labor Party as part of a push to secure what turned out to be far fewer green preferences than expected.”

“I would be very surprised if the Queensland Government would want to see a repeat of that type of scenario here given that many timber workers in the WHR are union members.”

Ends.

For further information please contact Rod McInnes on 07-3254 1989 or 0419-704 028.

21st October 2004