The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
The Hon Bryan Green MP
Tasmanian Deputy Premier
Funding to support Tasmanian Forests Agreement
11 December 2012
The Federal and Tasmanian Governments today announced $102 million to support the Tasmanian Forests Agreement that will provide certainty for Tasmania’s forestry industry, support local jobs and communities and protect the state’s iconic forests.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke who was joined by Deputy Premier Bryan Green, said the additional funding will help Tasmanians implement the deal brokered last month by the forestry industry, conservation movement and unions.
Further Federal support for the agreement will consist of:
- $28 million to support industry restructuring including support for workers and contractors
- $25.0 million to support regional structural adjustment, sustainable residue solutions and encourage innovation in the use of plantation timber.
- A further $2.0 million additional per year ($6 million 2014-17) to support the ongoing management of additional reserves, bringing the total to $9 million per year in perpetuity.
- $3.5 million to support implementation of the Signatories Agreement including the establishment of the Special Council; forestry industry certification; and securing the durability of the Agreement.
"When I came to Tasmania last week successive elected members of the Legislative Council asked me to make sure that a Commonwealth position has been determined prior to them commencing debate. Today's announcement meets that request of the legislative council," Mr Burke said.
"Today's announcement comes at a critical time when a number of industry players are making significant commercial decisions which will have lasting impacts on the Tasmanian economy.
"The Australian Government stands for Tasmanian jobs and a sustainable industry. We are pleased to be able to provide the funds required to manage this period of transition and also deliver significant conservation outcomes.
"Times of transition are never easy but Governments either step up and help people or let markets take care of themselves with the risk of serious and permanent adverse consequences.
"If the transition is handled properly then the strong future of Tasmania is assured and we want to help make that happen."
Deputy Premier Bryan Green said the Tasmanian Government would provide an additional $39.5 million to assist industry to transition to the new operating environment and support for the Special Council and securing durability of the agreement.
"This agreement is critical to securing the long term future of our forest industry and future jobs and opportunities for Tasmanians.
"We have worked closely with the Commonwealth and the signatories on the funding package to achieve all of the objectives of the agreement.
"These include providing certainty to the industry and protection of native forest with important conservation values.
The funding brings the State and Federal Governments total contribution to the Tasmanian Forest Agreement to $379 million.
"The agreement has already delivered over $140 million to assist workers, forest contracts and regional communities.
"This further funding is contingent on the Legislative Council passing of the Tasmanian Forests Agreement Bill 2012.
"Most Tasmania simply want the forest issue fixed.
"The agreement remains the only way of not only ending the conflict but providing certainty to the industry while investing tens of millions of dollars into the Tasmanian economy,” Mr Green said.