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Industry Reps and Liberals Need to Get Out of The Way and Stop Blocking Exit and Reservation Package

The Tasmanian Greens today parliament called on the Premier, Lara Giddings, to commit to recognising the need for appropriate exit assistance in order to enable forest contractors, forest and mill workers to exit the financially unviable industry, saying that there are growing calls within the forest contractors for an exit package linked to timber quotas immediately going into reserve.

Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said the Premier needs to support the contractors and their families rather than the timber barons and their representatives from FIAT, TCA, and the Liberal all of whom are currently attempting to wreck the historic forest principles process, a position which then threatens any help potentially available for contractors out of that process.

Mr Booth also informed Premier Giddings that forest contractors are will be demonstrating in support of the full exit package in line with the forest principles process at 1pm this Friday on Parliament House lawns.

“There are three players determined to stand in the way of this agreement, which are Mr Terry Edwards, Mr Barry Chipman and Mr Peter Gutwein who, by attempting to wreck this forest principles process, will ultimately deny affected parties an exit, as well as the community to get the reservations proposed and signed up to by all signatories,” Mr Booth said.

“The Premier needs to, in contrast, commit Labor to recognising the urgent need for real exit assistance being provided to Tasmanian forest contractors.

Especially given that many of these affect contractors are now advocating themselves that unused timber quotas due to contractors exiting the industry should be placed into conservation reserves.”

“Currently a once in a lifetime opportunity is underway to not only heal community division but to also access potentially hundreds of millions of dollars of federal government funding to provide an additional exit package for affected contractors and their families, and it beggars belief that the Liberals fear and the TCA is standing in the way of this.”

“Although the Premier was somewhat non-committal regarding interference in the Forest Principles process I am heartened that she does not appear to support the Liberals, TCA, or FIAT’s attempts to wreck the process.

Contractors would appreciate a firm commitment that neither Labor nor rogue agency Forestry Tasmania will not frustrate, or deny contractors seeing the long awaited opportunity to exit with dignity from the industry realised,” Mr Booth said.