Timber industry receives Labor’s backing

Timber industry receives Labor’s backing

Certainty over the future of Tasmania’s timber industry has been undermined recently with the State Government failing to support local millers in favour of mainland companies. 

There is a real fear that Resources Minister Felix Ellis and Sustainable Timbers Tasmania are preparing to award a major plantation sawlog contract to a mainland saw miller. 

They plan to do this by bringing forward sales of plantation sawlogs that saw millers had previously been assured would form part of their resource security from 2027 when the amount of native timber sawlog production reduces by more than half. 

Labor Leader Rebecca White met with key representatives from Tasmania’s timber industry to listen to their concerns regarding local jobs and businesses. 

“I was pleased to meet with a delegation of saw mill operators and forest industry leaders today, but disturbed as they outlined their grave concerns for the future of their businesses and industry under Minister Felix Ellis and the minority Liberal Government,” Ms White said. 

“The saw millers supported the Regional Forest Agreement and the Tasmanian Forest Agreement reduction in native sawlog supply based on the promise of the plantation resource being made available to them in 2027.” 

“If Minister Ellis and the Liberals are allowed to sell off the plantation resource to a mainland saw miller, then intergenerational businesses will be forced to reduce jobs or even close. We have seen the consequences of the government’s failure to put Tasmanian businesses first with the recent decision to award a contract to a mainland company over local company Bennett’s. 

Terry Edwards, former Chief Executive of the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania, talked about his concerns regarding Minister Felix Ellis’ plans and the impact they will have for local jobs and businesses. 

“STT are seemingly looking to sell the Tasmanian plantations to mainland-based interests at the expense of Tasmanian businesses and Tasmanian employment, and that is not acceptable,” Mr Edwards stated. 

“We expect much better than that from the Tasmanian Government.” 

“If these forests are exported to Victoria the wealth creation and employment will all be in Victoria, not in Tasmania, and that is unacceptable.” 

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