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Gross act of economic vandalism – SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK, Senator for Tasmania, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry and Science

Today the Prime Minister has further undermined the Labor government’s economic credentials by cutting the $1.4 billion a year Tasmanian Forestry industry in half, and for what?. A paltry $7 million per year for 15 years for the loss of $700 million per year of economic activity.
Coalition forestry spokesman, Senator Colbeck asked who in their right mind would propose a deal like this, and more importantly who would accept it?
“A few weeks ago Prime Minister Gillard was telling us of an historic opportunity to bring “peace to our forests” even today she talks of “moving forward” after 30 years of bitter conflict yet we already know that is a cruel lie”, Senator Colbeck said. “Green groups have already stated their intention to continue to protest.”
“It is clear from clause 2 of the intergovernmental agreement that the government was not telling us the truth in relation to peace in our forests. This agreement is nothing more than a capitulation to green groups – too gutless to stand up to their green masters the government has rolled over.”
“Even the promise that existing contracts would be honored, a key element of the Statement of Principles process, has been broken”, Senator Colbeck said. “Clause 27 of the agreement signed today says that if resource can not be supplied then compensation will be paid – how can any business operate on that basis?”
“It is no wonder that sovereign risk is now a term regularly being used in the context of this government.”
“We now have a circumstance where the government is no longer in control over the use of our resources.”
“Through this agreement Labor has set a dangerous precedent – allowing a fringe green group to declare an area “high conservation value” and having that area excluded from productive use.”
Senator Colbeck warned Australia’s resource based industries should be very worried by the Labor government’s continued capitulation to the Greens.
“Obviously Labor is more concerned with it’s own survival than that of the timber industry and it’s workers” he said.
Two weeks ago we said that Tasmania had been screwed, this is worse than we thought.