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Review into Tasmania's forest contractors.

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Review into Tasmania’s forest contractors

DAFF07/100A 15 September 2007

Australian Minister for Forestry and Conservation, Senator Eric Abetz, today announced a review into the issues facing Tasmania’s forest contractors.

“The Government is commissioning independent experts Poyry Forest Industries to examine how recent issues have impacted on forest contractors in the state, and to report on the options for ensuring their long term viability,” the Minister said.

“Tasmanian forest contractors have faced difficult times recently with reduced quotas, stemming in large part from a concerted attack internationally on Tasmanian forestry practices by extreme Green groups.

“This review is a clear demonstration of the Howard Government’s ongoing commitment to timber workers and their communities.

Ferdie Kroon, CEO of the Tasmanian Forest Contractors Association (TFCA), applauded the Howard Government’s decision to engage a consultant to review the situation confronting Tasmanian forest contractors.

“This is a clear demonstration of the Howard Government’s commitment to rural communities and to the forest industry as well. It also clearly demonstrates the Government’s concerns about the negative influence that the Greens are exerting on the Tasmanian forest industry,” Mr Kroon said.

“The Greens’ efforts to undermine overseas markets with their false claims are costing jobs and causing serious financial hardship for many rural communities.

“The TFCA had submitted a proposal to Government aimed at ‘righting the wrongs’ caused by the Greens. This proposal looked at the impact of the transition from old growth to re-growth and plantation and attempted to provide for an orderly transition that sustained the workforce and its supporting rural communities and businesses.

“The Australian Government’s agreement to review this proposal as part of the consultant’s terms of reference should also be welcomed by all Tasmanians, especially those realising the importance of the forests to Tasmania’s economy.”

Forest contractors are a vital part of the forest industry economy in Tasmania, with 130 harvesting businesses alone supporting in excess of 2,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The review is expected to be completed by early November this year.

Further inquiries:

Senator Abetz’s office: Brad Stansfield 0419 884 666