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28 May, 2015

Paul Harriss, Minister for Resources

Forest future bright under Hodgman Liberal Government

Tasmania’s forest industry is heading in the right direction and the Hodgman Liberal Government has a Plan to build on that momentum.

The industry is now recovering from the politically induced downturn and we are seeing green shoots in the sector, with regional sawmilling jobs secured, workplaces protected from radical protestors and the rising capital of private companies like New Forests/Forico.

The Hodgman Liberal Government wants the forest industry to stand on its own two feet to ensure it has a sustainable, long-term future in Tasmania.

We are transitioning Forestry Tasmania to a land-manager model, which will focus on what it  does best – growing and managing trees. We strongly believe that the forest industry can - and will - grow into the future without the need for ongoing Government financial support.

The 2015-16 Budget confirms our commitment to provide no further funding for Forestry Tasmania’s commercial operations. As we’ve said previously, the Hodgman Liberal Government will continue to fund Forestry Tasmania’s firefighting obligations in the Budget, with $4 million to be provided this year.

Another $4 million is provided for other non-commercial activities, including maintaining roads to a higher standard for public use, providing forest education and research, tourism activities from which Forestry Tasmania does not derive a profit, and special species timber management, such as harvesting and managing the Huon pine stockpile.

This Budget also provides $250,000 over two years to implement the outcomes of the Forestry Tasmania review, which will be decided once the stakeholder consultation process finishes.

It also continues funding to deliver a range of initiatives started last year including $500,000 over two years to progress the review of the Regional Forest Agreement, $1 million over four years to grow the private agri-forestry sector and $1.2 million over two years for the Ministerial Advisory Council on Forests.

This Budget also meets our funding commitments on State and Federally funded forest policy projects including new land management legislation to support the Government’s forest policy, a residues solution study, management of plantations and the delivery of specific programs including the Regional Sawmillers Program and assistance for native forest harvesting contractors.

The Hodgman Liberal Government was elected to rebuild Tasmania’s forest industry and this Budget builds on the positive momentum we are already seeing in the sector.