Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

David Bartlett MP

Premier of Tasmania

Australian and Tasmanian Governments progress Forestry Statement of Principles

Joint media release
14 December 2010

The Australian and Tasmanian Governments have announced that Bill Kelty has been appointed to be the facilitator to progress the recent landmark agreement between conservation groups, the CFMEU and the timber industry in Tasmania.

This will help deliver certainty of supply for industry and the progressive implementation of the moratorium as outlined in the statement of principles.

The Tasmanian Premier, David Bartlett, said the appointment was another step towards providing certainty and lasting jobs in the timber industry.

"As a Labor Premier, my priority is to provide a secure and lasting wood supply, and therefore support jobs in the timber industry," Mr Bartlett said.

"As we strive to make the changes this industry needs, we must provide as much security and certainty as possible for those traditional family-owned sawmills, which are the heartbeat of the forestry community.

"The Statement of Principles provides for that security, by supporting a moratorium that continues to honour existing contractual wood supply obligations to those businesses," he said.

Mr Bartlett said the moratorium will be for a set term, and any permanent closures will be conditional on the rest of the forestry agreement being progressed.

"This process was always built on co-operation and goodwill, and we’re pleased to build on our contribution today," Mr Bartlett said.

"We must strike an important balance at every stage of this process. Obviously, the Tasmanian Government’s support for the moratorium is dependent on the industry retaining access to an adequate wood supply, while Mr Kelty’s due diligence process is undertaken," he said.

Tony Burke, Minister for the Environment, said that the appointment marked important progress on the commitments under the statement of principles.

"The recent agreement in Tasmania was an historic agreement that could bring to an end to decades of conflict. The statement of principles has come from industry and the community.

"The Gillard Government has welcomed this agreement and has committed to investigating what can be done to facilitate those goals.

"To date thirty-nine coupes have been placed under moratorium as a sign of goodwill by the Tasmanian Government.

"Today's announcement marks the start of two key processes for the next three months: a guaranteed sustainable quantity and quality of wood for the future of timber communities and a progressive moratorium on the logging of high conservation value forests in keeping with the agreement."

The meetings of conservation groups and Forestry Tasmania to establish the progressive moratorium begin today.

The facilitator will report back to both governments with an assessment of the Tasmanian forestry resource, defined high conservation value areas and advice on whether the Commonwealth can assist further in the implementation of the statement of principles.

The Gillard Government's commitment to the process is contingent on the continued engagement and support for the principles of all signatories.