Australasia's home for timber news and information

Labor punts its future and Tassie’s economy on just six days

Recycled Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is treating Tasmanians like mugs – asking them to believe the government has done its homework on 400 applications for forest shutdown funding in just six days. Source: Timberbiz
On July 9, in the face of vocal pressure from local government and business, State Economic Development Minister David O’Byrne announced a 10-day extension for applications to the scheme.
Then yesterday in Launceston, just days after the new cut off, Mr Rudd unveiled the recipients.
“This is a disgusting display of pork barrelling of the highest order,” Coalition Forestry spokesman Senator Richard Colbeck said.
“We have said from the outset this is a slush fund to salvage Labor’s shattered hopes in Tasmania – trying to distract from its appalling track record, having worked with Green partners to shut down forestry and lock more of the State into reserve.
“It is an insult to the people here. Has Labor methodically worked through 400 submissions in six days? Of course not.
“Do they seriously think a $90 million sugar fix heading into the election will compensate for $700 million a year in revenue we will lose from the forest industry?”
Since June 11, after damning Auditor General reports into previous Labor-run forestry shut down packages, Senator Colbeck has repeatedly called for basic information:
• What was the application process to access the funding?
• Who was eligible?
• What were the terms and conditions?
• What is the process for assessing projects or applications?
• Who was on the panel with Professor West and how would they operate?
• What was the process for announcing the grants?
• What are the compliance arrangements?
Those questions remain unanswered.
“This old school Kevin Rudd, riding his chaos train across the country,” Senator Colbeck said. “This is the bloke that brought us pink batts. Are we seriously going to trust him to get the rebuild of the Tasmanian economy right with a $100 million slush fund?
“Tasmanians will remember that this rebuild is required because of the havoc and destruction caused by Labor and its Green mates.”