Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Senator the Hon. Joe Ludwig

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Liberal Party threatens Tasmanian jobs

Media release
02 November 2011

The Liberal Party has put countless jobs, millions of dollars in assistance and the protection of hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest at risk by calling for the Gillard Government to abandon the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA).

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck today moved a motion proposing to abandon the Intergovernmental Agreement between the Gillard and Tasmanian governments to transition the Tasmanian forestry industry to a sustainable future.

Environment Minister Tony Burke said the motion would undo months of progress and threaten the certainty of Tasmania's forestry industry and economy into the future.

"The transition package through the IGA is a way of helping communities and it is a kick in the guts to every Tasmanian timber community to see that the Coalition's position is to rip more than $150 million of assistance out the State," Mr Burke said.

"I call on Tony Abbott to either call Senator Colbeck into line and instruct him to retract this motion or Mr Abbott must explain to Tasmanian communities why he is also abandoning workers by ripping funding from their State.

"Abandoning the agreement will withdraw $45 million in assistance from harvest, haulage and silvicultural contractors and deny the Tasmanian economy up to $120 million in assistance to help it diversify.

"What is the Coalition's proposal? The industry is going through a period of restructure. If the Coalition had its way we would provide no support at all.

"The IGA provides certainty for Tasmania's forestry industry, for local jobs and communities, and protects the State's ancient forests. The Liberal party is looking to destroy all of that."

Forestry Minister Senator Joe Ludwig said Gillard and Tasmanian governments were working closely with industry to implement the Intergovernmental Agreement.

"Senator Colbeck seems to forget this was a community-led agreement from the very start," Minister Ludwig said.

"We are working closely with industry, with environmental groups and with the CFMEU to progress the IGA and by doing so end decades of conflict.

"The IGA as it stands will support the Tasmanian forestry industry as it transitions. It supports workers, protects hundreds of thousands of hectares of Tasmanian Forests, and enables economic diversification.

"By abandoning the IGA Senator Colbeck is not only turning back the clock on the hard work and significant achievements to date, he is also putting unnecessary strain on the Tasmanian economy and the future of countless Tasmanian jobs."