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Grant helps timber workers keep jobs.

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Federal Minister for Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald Victorian Minister for Environment and Conservation, Sherryl Garbutt

AFFA02/108MJ 2 August 2002

Grant helps timber workers keep jobs A group of timber workers in East Gippsland will keep their jobs as the result of a $709,574 grant through the Forest Industry Structural Adjustment Program (FISAP).

The grant went to Cann River sawmiller Hallmark Oaks Pty Ltd, as was jointly announced today by Federal Minister for Forestry and Conservation Senator Ian Macdonald, and Victorian Minister for Environment and Conservation, Sherryl Garbutt.

It will enable Hallmark Oaks to take over the assets of another Cann River sawmiller, Hans Sumberg Pty Ltd, and redevelop the site to provide central drying facilities for other East Gippsland sawmillers.

Senator Macdonald said importantly, the grant would also ensure the continued employment of the employees of Hans Sumberg Pty Ltd.

“The FISAP assistance will enable Hallmark Oaks to add value to East Gippsland’s timbers,” Senator Macdonald said. “Drying is a key area of value-adding in the native hardwood industry. I am confident the proposed developments by Hallmark Oaks will enhance local and export market opportunities,” Senator Macdonald said.

Ms Garbutt said Hallmark Oaks intended to process timber for several East Gippsland saw millers that would provide a direct stimulus to the sawmillers concerned and also to the workers and communities which depend on them.

“FISAP assists businesses and workers in Victoria’s native hardwood timber industry to adjust to, and take advantage of, the outcomes from the State’s five Regional Forest Agreements,” she said.

In total $42.6 million is allocated to the Victorian Forest Industry Structural Adjustment Program, which assists businesses involved in the Victorian native timber industry.

FISAP is part of the joint Commonwealth and State Government Regional Forest Agreement process and supports the ongoing development of a competitive, sustainable and value-adding native forest industry.

Further inquiries:

Senator Macdonald's office: Zac Donovan 0438 611 296. Ms Garbutt's office: James O'Brien 0409 860 708