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Another Labor Government under-estimates its costs

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John Anderson, MR Deputy Leader, National Party of Australia Shadow Minister for Primary Industry Media

Canberra: Phone (06) 2 7 7 4074

Gunnedah: Phone (067) 42 3155 Release


The new Labor Government in NSW is set to compound Australia's economic problems by reducing timber exports, putting timber workers on the dole, and increasing the import bill, according to National Party Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Primary Industry, John Anderson.

Mr Anderson said it would not surprise anyone who has dealt with a Labor Government that the NSW Premier had underestimated to cost of his forest plan and it was now estimated to cost more than $200 million - not the $60 million he spoke of before the election.

'This is vintage Labor win votes by making promises and then try to hide the real cost.

'W e have recently seen this in the Federal Budget where the so called "surplus" is in reality a big deficit.

"In Victoria we saw the previous Labor Government, in an effort to appease extreme greens, refuse to allow residue from logging to be used for woodchips. That Government simply paid for this material to be burnt on the forest floor.

"This senseless decision not only cost Victoria $10 million a year in royalties, but it cost Australians $100 million a year in export income.

W e saw the Keating Government hand out money to green groups to assess the forests and we lived through the wish list of 1300 coupes which eventually dropped to 264 and will in time drop to less than 100.

'This industry, which should be expanding through plantations and value-adding, is continuing to slip back, and our imports of timber and paper products are continuing to grow. These imports now account for about $2 billion or about 8% of our $27 billion trading deficit.

"Now Mr Carr's plans will cause the industry to shrink further and imports to rise. It also sends the wrong message to investors and they will continue to look at other countries for value adding."

Mr Anderson said the quickest way to end the export of woodchips was to provide investor confidence so that more pulp and paper mills could be built in Australia.

"In this way we could eventually be an exporter of these high-value products instead of an importer, Mr Anderson said. COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY

END 18 MAY 1995