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Greens state and federal representatives present joint push for inquiry into financial management of forestry Tasmania.



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04 October 2001

GREENS STATE AND FEDERAL REPRESENTATIVES PRESENT JOINT PUSH FOR INQUIRY INTO FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF FORESTRY TASMANIA

The Tasmanian Greens today launched a push for a Commission of Inquiry into the financial management of Forestry Tasmania, potential conflicts of interest in the regulatory system governing forestry in Tasmania, and allegations of a culture of cronyism.

In state parliament, Greens MHA Peg Putt tabled in State Parliament a motion detailing the terms of reference for the Inquiry. She has been joined by Senator Bob Brown who will take similar action in the Senate.

“Forestry Tasmania, the Forest Practices Board and Private Forests Tasmania together control the management of forests and the wood products industry in Tasmania. They are powerful, secretive and subject to major conflicts of interest and allegations of cronyism and malpractice,” Ms Putt said.

“The financial management of Forestry Tasmania is under severe question. Despite the large amounts of public money poured into it over the last decade, operating expenses have increased massively, pre-tax operating profits have fallen and it has recently borrowed $14 million.”

“Forestry Tasmania’ status as a government business enterprise means it is exempt from corporations law, competition policy and freedom of information scrutiny. The implications of the recent emergence of Gunns as the monopoly purchaser of native forest wood warrant investigation also.”

“Tasmania’s forests are being woodchipped at the greatest rate in history for the fewest jobs in history, for the poorest return in history”, Senator Brown said.

“A private company returning less than 1% on its assets would be on the skids. If you take into account the half-billion dollars of public money injected into Forestry

Tasmania since 1988, it has actually run at a huge loss. In turn, that drains money from schools, hospitals and other public services.

“A Royal Commission is warranted into this incestuous industry and its pilfering of public expectations”, said Senator Brown.

“Only a Commission of Inquiry (under the Tasmanian Commissions of Inquiry Act 1995) can provide the full and open public inquiry needed to restore confidence in the management of Tasmania’s forests and wood products industry,” Ms Putt said.

Category: Senate Office

Author: Ben Oquist