Tasmania’s lead Liberal Senator Eric Abetz told the Senate today that “we don’t want this money spent in Tasmania”, rebuffing the Intergovernmental Agreement delivering $276 million of federal money to Tasmania.
The Coalition was debating its own move to delay a vote on Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown’s motion:
That the Senate condemns the Coalition for seeking to deny Tasmania $270 million of assistance for forestry transition.
“Senator Abetz’s anti-Tasmanian stance has to be seen in the light of his general negativity to federal moves benefiting Tasmania,” Senator Brown said.
• Gunns dips below the Flatline:
Gunns’ shares in record low
NICK CLARK | 23 September 2011
SHARES in timber company Gunns Limited tumbled in line with the rest of the ASX yesterday to finish at a record low price of 16.5 cents.
After coming back on the market on Monday at 20.5 cents following a six-week suspension, Gunns’ market capitalisation has dropped by nearly 20 per cent to $140 million.
Shadforths analyst Matthew Torenius said Gunns’ share price had reacted in line with the market.
The Australian sharemarket closed more than 2.6 per cent lower to its weakest level in more than two years. At the close of trade the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 106.9 points, at 3964.9, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 108.9 points at 4044.7.
It was the lowest close for both indices since July 2009.
The Aussie dollar also fell sharply to a six-week low, at one stage dipping below parity with the US dollar, before recovering to US100.18c, 2.5 cents down from US102.81c on Wednesday.
First published: 2011-09-23 09:17 AM
• ET, WS, ACF: Forestry Tasmania Funding: Money for nothing
Environment groups stated it would be an outrage for governments to hand over $11.5 million to Forestry Tasmania whilst it continues to log ancient native forests earmarked for
protection under the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement.
“Forestry Tasmania continues new logging and roading in forests that should be protected1. Providing them with an $11.5 million blank cheque will do nothing to halt the logging in forests needing immediate protection” said Vica Bayley from the Wilderness Society.
“This would undermine public confidence in the forests agreement and inflame growing tensions over Forestry Tasmaniaʼs apparent inability, or worse, unwillingness, to reschedule
logging operations out of the forests nominated for immediate protection,” added Mr Bayley.
“Protecting Tasmaniaʼs native forests would provide both a public good for all Australians, together with diversification of our regional economy and supporting communities in transition. This is what justifies the significant investment allocated to the forests agreement,” said Dr Phill Pullinger, Director of Environment Tasmania, “Without the delivery of forests protection, Australian taxpayers have every right to question the expenditure,” he said.
“We will be raising this as an urgent issue with governments and the other signatory groups. Protecting unique and important native forests is a fundamental pillar of this Agreement. Its delivery is as crucial as support for timber workers and contractors.” said.
Dr Phill Pullinger, Environment Tasmania Vica Bayley, The Wilderness Society Denise Boyd, Australian Conservation Foundation
1 Environment groups released evidence on 20th September that, since the signing of the intergovernmental agreement, Forestry Tasmania had acted against the agreement by not re-scheduling existing logging operations and in fact, even starting new logging operations in the high conservation value forests.
• Ta Ann clobbers World Heritage value forests as government hands its agent, Forestry Tasmania, $11.5 million
Dozens of high conservation value Tasmanian forest areas, inside the 430,000 hectares agreed to be protected, are being logged for Malaysian logging corporation Ta Ann, Greens Leader Bob Brown alleged in Hobart today.
“Today, by agreement of Premier Giddings and Prime Minister Gillard, $11.5 million is being handed to Ta Ann’s accomplice, Forestry Tasmania, for no better reason than Forestry Tasmania threatened even more destruction if they did not,” Senator Brown said.
“Effectively, through Forestry Tasmania not requiring adequate royalties, that $11.5 million is a boon and will flow on to Ta Ann’s benefit. Headquarters back in Malaysia will have smiles from ear to ear, even if Australian taxpayers don’t,” Senator Brown said.
In July Prime Minister Gillard promised this:
“Tasmania will immediately place 430,000 hectares of native forest into informal reserve, subject to verification, which the governments will protect under a Conservation Agreement.
Reserves will include areas such as the iconic forests in the Styx, Upper Florentine, Huon, Picton and Weld Valleys and the Great Western Tiers, Tarkine and Wielangta areas. These forests will not be accessed for harvest while verification takes place.”
“Every day since she and Premier Giddings made this commitment, dozens of the self same forest areas are being smacked down for Ta Ann, courtesy of Forestry Tasmania, now encouraged by $11.5 million. The only worse outcome would be the plan of Senator Abetz to send all $276 million of federal monies back to Canberra and leave Tasmania nothing,” Senator Brown said.