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More money needed in Tasmania

A Tasmanian Parliamentary inquiry into forest industry exit packages has recommended more money be made available for people who were not eligible for grants. Source: ABC News

A Lower House committee has released draft recommendations from its inquiry into the $45 million Commonwealth scheme to help people exit the industry when Gunns pulled out of native forest harvesting.

The committee found the scheme was poorly targeted and many businesses “fell through the cracks” because some Gunns contractors and those not involved in harvesting or haulage were ineligible for help.

The interim report also said it allowed many contractors to return to work after restructuring their businesses, effectively competing with those who could not get government assistance.

Earlier this year a Senate inquiry into the scheme uncovered claims of rorting that have since been referred to police.

The Tasmanian committee said it is satisfied allegations of fraud have been dealt with appropriately.

Its interim recommendations focus on the ongoing hardship suffered by businesses and individuals who were ineligible for grants.

The committee wants the State Government to offer more financial assistance to those affected by the industry downturn as the inquiry continues.