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ANTI-JOBS AGREEMENT IS A SELL OUT OF THE FOREST INDUSTRY – Forest Industries Association of Tasmania

The Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) announced today by the Prime Minister and the Tasmanian Premier will remove all vestiges of security for forest industry workers and is little more that a cynical sell-out of Tasmanian workers to appease Nick McKim and Bob Brown.
The Forest Industries Association of Tasmania said “this sham agreement bears no resemblance to any agreement we have reached with ENGOs nor does it reflect the Heads of Agreement reached two weeks ago between the two Governments”.
FIAT Chief Executive, Terry Edwards said “industry was bitterly disappointed that the two Governments had repudiated their previous position of immediately legislating industry resource requirements and to permit access to the interim reserve area should that be necessary for resource and employment security. This removes all security the industry had been requesting. The provision of compensation to Companies affected by lack of resource will not see employment retained as, if there is no wood to process, employees cannot be employed on a stop start basis.”
The previous unequivocal commitments by both Governments to legislate to protect wood supply to the industry has been removed including a significant reduction in the current legislated security for sawlog, i.e. regulation not legislation, no legislated security for rotary peeled veneer billets and no legislation to protect supply of our iconic special species timbers, all of which were promised in the Heads of Agreement two weeks ago and in an earlier draft of the IGA as viewed by FIAT on Thursday night.
Industry cannot and will not accept this sell out of Tasmania which will destroy the livelihoods of thousands of Tasmanian workers and will reduce investment in the industry to virtually nothing. There is no security offered to industry only to the environmental groups that caused the original problem Mr Edwards said.
There is no genuine guarantee that the Triabunna wood chip facility will be opened on reasonable commercial terms or if it does not that the Governments will do anything to assist. “Frankly given this appalling sell out of the Tasmanian economy we have no confidence that these Governments will lift one finger to help,” Mr Edwards said.
It is quite clear that under this agreement all of the immediate attention is on destroying employment and investment in Tasmania’s forest industry by removing from production the production of remaining productive forest (1 million ha already in reserves) to slake the thirst of insatiable Greens demands for the destruction of the industry led by Nick McKim and Bob Brown. “Both the State and Federal Governments have shown how weak they are as they have caved in to the demands of their governing partners following their mock outrage at the signing of the Heads of Agreement only two weeks ago,” said Mr Edwards
We can only hope that our independent Legislative Council will see the folly of pandering to the minority Greens and will block this entire package and force a rethink of this disgraceful appeasement of minority interests just to keep the Giddings and Gillard Governments in power.
Ironically these same Governments are prepared to sack police officers, teachers and health workers while they intend in this Agreement to meet Gunns massive payout demand ($106M) for contracts they have already surrendered.
Lara Giddings must call an immediate election and face the Tasmanian people on this jobs destroying abrogation of Government responsibility to govern in the interests of the Tasmanian people not just cling to power whilst being dictated to by Nick McKim and his colleagues. This could be a referendum on the Governments scant regard for ordinary Tasmanian workers.
Terry Edwards 0419 319789