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Premier must do more to resolve Auspine dispute.

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BACK You are here : Home : Media Releases : DAFF06/A241106 Last updated: 23 November 2006

Premier must do more to resolve Auspine dispute

While the Premier’s unexpected turnaround to appoint an independent mediator to help resolve the Auspine dispute is welcome, he must do more.

The pine resource currently in dispute was established in the 1970s by the State Government with financial assistance from the Commonwealth under the Softwood Forestry Agreement Act (of 1966, ‘72, ’76 and 1978).

The aim of this was the establishment of a sufficient softwood resource in Tasmania in order to establish a domestic softwood processing industry in Tasmania.

In that context, it is simply not good enough for whole logs to be exported from the State while local saw mills struggle for adequate resource.

In addition, Mr Lennon’s own Tasmanian Forestry Act requires that local employment be an important consideration:

Tasmanian Forestry Act 1920 Section 12A(1) - The corporation must treat the level of employment deriving from the use of public forest resources as an important consideration when examining options for competing claims for crown wood including the provision of wood supply agreements. Section 8(1) The corporation has the following functions: (f) to foster an internationally competitive wood production and processing industry in Tasmania.

The State Government, through Forestry Tasmania, retains a 50 percent holding in this softwood resource.

Therefore, it is incumbent on the Premier to fully consider whether logs currently destined for export should be redirected to support the 310 sawmilling jobs in Scottsdale.

The State cannot shirk its statutory obligations by claiming that it is only a half owner of the resource and the legislation no longer applies when clearly it does.

I have today written to the Premier in the above terms.

A241106 23 November 2006

Further inquiries:

Senator Abetz’s office: Brad Stansfield 0419 884 666

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