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Smoking Gunns leaves farmers worried

The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA), which represents private forest owners, says its prime concern with the announcement of Gunns going into administration is the status of trees on private land that had been contracted to the company. Sources: Timberbiz

“Monies owing are a commercial matter between the company and its suppliers.
However, ongoing ownership and management of trees is a potential issue for our members, and we’ll be seeking some advice on this matter,” TFGA chief executive Jan Davis said.

“Nobody will be surprised that Gunns has gone into voluntary administration; but the TFGA is particularly concerned about the impact this will have on farmers with private forestry assets, especially those who have leased land to Gunns for plantations.”

Davis said the Gunns’ announcement would have flow-on impacts on the future of the forestry industry.

“The TFGA will be monitoring the effect this has on the Intergovernmental Agreement on Forestry process,” she said.

“Private foresters, many of whom are farmers, own and manage 885,000 ha of private forests, 26 per cent of the state’s forestry resources. The TFGA has been told from the outset of the process that it would not impact on our businesses because the ‘deal’ was only about publicly owned forests.

“We’ve said that is nonsense and even the Premier has now acknowledged we were right.”

Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck and Coalition Forestry Spokesman said the demise of Gunns gave reason for Tasmanians to ask serious questions about the future.

He said while the collapse of the once billion-dollar company was complex; the Greens were central to the whole sorry saga.

“At the kitchen table our thoughts are with the workers, their families, contractors and shareholders across the State.

“And at the boardroom table there’s a clear message as well – a message about investing in Tasmania.”

Senator Colbeck said Gunns’ reputation was shredded by a concerted, unrelenting Greens campaign into local communities, national and international markets.

“We a seeing a stark example of Greens policy at work,” he said. “It was the deal with the Greens that saw Gunns go out of native forests.

“It was the Greens and the State Labor Government that brought about the sham which is the intergovernmental agreement.

“It was the Greens that chased away Chandler Corporation.

Senator Colbeck said wider public opinion was starting to turn against the Greens.