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McGauran questions Greens deal.

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Peter McGauran, MP Minister for the Arts and the Centenary of Federation - Federal Member for Gippsland

McGauran Questions Greens Deal 3 November 2001

The decision by the Greens to direct preferences to the Labor Party was an ominous warning for Gippsland voters, according to Federal Member for Gippsland Peter McGauran.

Accusing the ALP of 'bargaining with Gippsland jobs', Mr McGauran called on the Labor Party to come clean with Gippsland voters.

"Tell the timber towns of Gippsland where they stand now that the Labor Party has done a deal with the Greens," Mr McGauran said.

Mr McGauran said Greens Leader Bob Brown had actually participated in forest protests in East Gippsland and jobs in the timber industry would be at risk if Labor was elected.

"The preference deal must be of great concern to timber communities in Heyfield, Orbost, Cann River, Swifts Creek and other areas," Mr McGauran said.

"Bob Brown has made his position on hardwood timber harvesting very clear when he was arrested during a protest in Far East Gippsland.

"Where does that leave the local Labor Party candidate now that his party has stitched up a deal with the Greens?"

Mr McGauran said the Liberal-National Party Government had supported a properly managed and sustainable timber industry through the Regional Forest Agreement.

"We have also supported value-adding in the industry with funding for Forestech near Lakes Entrance and $500,000 for the Orbost Timber Exhibition Centre.

"If the Labor Party wants to do a deal with the Greens, that's their decision, but Gippsland timber workers should be told where they fit into that deal.

"Any deal comes at a price and Gippslanders should be told what the Labor Party has agreed to regarding the future of our timber industry.

"Local jobs will be put at risk if Labor is relying on its deals behind closed doors with the Greens as a last ditch effort to win power.

"It's a desperate move and proof that Labor will sell-out anyone to win power."