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Commonwealth Crest
Tasmanian Government

Minister for the Environment,
Senator Robert Hill

Minister for Primary Industries and Energy,
John Anderson

Minister for Forests,
John Beswick
Minister for Environment and Land Management,
Peter Hodgman

Joint Statement

Regional Forest Agreement on Track for Tasmania


15 November 1996.

A Regional Forest Agreement between the Commonwealth and the Tasmanian Government is a step closer today with the release of detailed reports on the values and uses of Tasmanian forests.

In a joint statement, the Federal Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill, the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, John Anderson, the Tasmanian Minister for Forests, John Beswick, and the Tasmanian Minister for the Environment, Peter Hodgman said the reports were a milestone in the development of a Regional forest Agreement (RFA) for Tasmania.

"The depth and breadth of these comprehensive regional assessment reports underlines the commitment of both Governments to agreeing on a responsible, long-term approach to Tasmania's forests, and forest- based industries and communities," the Ministers said.

"Based on extensive field work and consultations with all interested groups, including local communities, the reports bring together for the first time new and existing data on the environmental, heritage, social and economic aspects of the State's forests, and those communities and industries which depend upon them.

"The data and information they contain will help define the options for building industry confidence and providing new opportunities while at the same time ensuring a comprehensive, adequate and representative (CAR) reserve system and ecologically sustainable forest use."

Information in the reports covers such areas as forest biodiversity, old growth, wilderness, heritage, minerals, timber use, fire, water, and social profiles.

The Tasmanian RFA will operate for 20 years and is scheduled to be signed by the Prime Minister John Howard, and the Premier, Tony Rundle, by the end of June, 1997.

The Ministers thanked the Tasmanian Public Land Use Committee (PLUC), which officially released the reports in Hobart today for its continuing role in facilitating and promoting the RFA process.

"Significant progress has been made, however there are still challenges ahead in developing options for an RFA and deciding on the final agreement for Tasmania, the Ministers said.

They called on all Tasmanians with an interest in the future and use of the State's forests to take an active interest in the information reports and participate in the next stages of the RFA process.

Contacts:

Matt Brown, Senator Hill's Office, 06 277 7640

Robert Hayes, Mr Anderson's Office, 06 277 7520

John Calcite, Mr Beswick's Office, 06 6233 6653

Reid Thomas, Mr Hodgman's Office, 03 6233 3466

Commonwealth of Australia