THE FEDERAL Government’s $42 billion economic stimulus package has been seen as a lifeline for the future for many in the forest and timber and associated industries.
First announcements of the rescue package brought hope. Then hopes were dashed when the Opposition tried to block the move in the Lower House. Despite the marathon sitting, the Government won out and now it remains a matter of receiving approval from the Senate.
The Opposition had the numbers with crossbench Senators to force an upper house inquiry of the legislation, delaying parliamentary approval of the package at least until Thursday.
At the time of going to press the conjecture was that the Government’s rescue package would get the go ahead.
Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner warned there could be consequences if the Government was not allowed to act quickly to head off a looming recession.
Tanner said the Coalition stance was contrary to the advice of Treasury and the International Monetary Fund.
Many, however, believe the package will be given the green light almost in its entirety.
The forest and timber industry is definitely in favour of the stimulus.
The Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI) was one of the first to laud the move and described the package as a critical step in safeguarding Australia’s economy while providing a remarkable opportunity to build an environmentally sustainable future.