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Federal Government backs timber workers: what about the WA Government?

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Federal Government backs timber workers -what about the WA Government?

AFFA03/129M 4 July 2003

Federal Forestry Minister Senator Ian Macdonald has thrown his support behind Western Australia's timber industry as it attempts to put the wood on the State Government.

Senator Macdonald has urged the Gallop Government to speed up its commitment to a sustainable Jarrah allocation of 200,000m3 in the south west after State Cabinet again deferred a decision this week.

"The three-day ALP State conference starts today in Perth, and I'm urging the rank and file party members to call on the State Government to show a heart and finally make a decision that will secure jobs for the timber workers in the south west," Senator Macdonald said.

"Why is it that the Gallop Government cannot see the benefit to the entire community of providing a sustainable jarrah allocation of 200,000m3?

"Major projects get put on the backburner, and Western Australia's economy continues to cop a hammering, while the State Government plays a waiting game by again deferring a decision."

Senator Macdonald said the State Government did not recognise what a positive impact a buoyant timber industry had on the Western Australian economy.

"I'm calling on everyone who benefits from timber to make their views known about how they're feeling at the moment," Senator Macdonald said.

"The Howard Government is ready to allocate $15,000,000 as soon as the State Government commits to a 200,000m3 allocation of Jarrah.

"Reports have suggested the impact of reducing the quota could lead up to 750 direct job losses.

"This continued uncertainty in the timber industry is not good enough and I'm calling on the State Government to take heed of the community angst regarding their delaying tactics and make the necessary decision."

Further inquiries:

Senator Macdonald's office: Mr David Crisafulli (02) 6277 7270 or 0400 144 483