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Gunns should fund contractors buyout: Brown.

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Senator Bob Brown Senator for Tasmania

Gunns should fund contractors buyout: Brown

Saturday, 13 May 2006

Call for woodchip crisis meeting

The state and federal governments should convene a crisis meeting to ensure Gunns and not the Tasmanian taxpayer funds the buyout of forest contractors facing ruin, Greens leader Bob Brown said in Hobart today.

"The Tasmanian Forest Contractors Association had failed to avoid the obvious crunch as plantation woodchips undercut the wild forest woodchip market," Senator Brown said.

"The Greens have consistently forecast this crisis while the Lennon and Howard Governments turned their back."

"Had the Latham offer of 800million been taken instead of the Howard alternative of $50million for structural readjustment in Tasmania, the contractors would not be facing the compensation drought. But the real target here must be the island state's wealthiest company, Gunns Ltd, whose profits, according to contractor Noel Jackman, are being subsidised by contractors," Senator Brown said.

"The Prime Minister was cheered by hundreds of loggers at Launceston's Albert Hall just 18 months ago. He won the election. Now the loggers have been sold out - they're going to the wall. After his overseas jaunt, Mr Howard should fly back to Launceston and give John Gay a lecture in fair dealing."

Senator Brown said Bass Greens MHA Kim Booth's pre-election call for action for the contractors had been scoffed at by representatives.

"But where is Paul Lennon now?" Senator Brown asked.

Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603

Bob Brown v Forestry Tasmania the transcript of proceedings from the Wielangta case is now available at Created by Administration Last modified 15-05-2006 11:58 AM