A funding agreement on Tasmania’s forests peace deal could be imminent.
Timber industry groups are stating their demands as the Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, and the facilitiator of the peace talks, Bill Kelty, arrive in Hobart to finalise a compensation package.
The state Resources Minister, Bryan Green, has confirmed a funding agreement is close.
“I believe we’re making progress and I’m very hopeful that we’ll get an outcome,” he said.
The Tasmanian Government has been in talks with Commonwealth officials this week.
Mr Green says he is trying to negotiate a better compensation deal for the industry after rejecting an earlier offer from the Commonwealth.
He says compensation negotiations have also involved key players in the forest peace talks.
“Yesterday was important from the point of view of getting industry ENGO’s and, of course, the union together again to reaffirm the position that we want to go forward with an agreement in the state,” he said.
“I think most of fair minded people in Tasmania would understand that there is a need to restructure the forest industry in Tasmania.”
The Premier, Lara Giddings, has suggested displaced Gunns workers will be the first to benefit.
Mr Green says the issue of compensation for Gunns is a complex one.
“My main concern in the first place is to make sure those people who have been affected through no fault of their own by a restructure of the forest industry are looked after and our priority is always going to lean towards making sure that they are looked after.”