Forests Agreement Bill Tabled in Parliament Thu 21 June 2012 Bryan Green Minister for Energy and Resources Download hi-res version The State Government today tabled legislation aimed at ending the conflict over forestry and securing the future of Tasmania's forest industry. The Minister for Energy and Resources, Bryan Green, said the Government was providing a framework designed to implement a Tasmanian Forests Agreement. "This legislation makes it clear to Tasmanians how an agreement will be implemented as we work towards a solution to the decades long conflict over forestry," Mr Green said. "The Government has today taken another step towards supporting a lasting resolution to the forestry debate, unlike the Liberal Party which is still in denial. Mr Green said the Legislation provides a balanced process for the establishment of forest reserves with the provision of secure wood supply for industry. "What is crucial now is that the Reference Group of Signatories reaches agreement." Mr Green said the Legislation would accommodate a range of potential outcomes negotiated by the Signatories. "The Legislation is intended to create a broad framework that will support the Signatories to reach innovative negotiated outcomes. "It is my intent that subject to Cabinet approval I will bring any amendments to this Bill that are necessary to implement relevant aspects of any Signatories agreement. "The Legislation establishes a transparent process to allow an agreement to be publicly debated and enacted by the Parliament. "The Tasmanian Parliament will be the arbiter of any final agreement." Mr Green said the Tasmanian Forests Agreement Bill 2012 honoured the Government's commitment to introduce legislation under the $276 million Intergovernmental Agreement. "It takes Tasmania closer to significant conservation outcomes that are supported by industry on the basis of continuing access to wood supply. "This will release the remaining $100 million of Australian Government funding for economic development that is dependent on reserve creation under the Intergovernmental Agreement. "There is no denying that changing market conditions and Australia's high exchange rate have led to the challenges facing the industry. "The Tasmanian Forests Agreement offers the best way forward. "The Agreement has already delivered more than $100 million in assistance to forest contractors, workers and communities to help them through the downturn and stimulate regional economies." Mr Green said $45 million had been provided to contractors and $15 million to directly support workers. "There is a further $25 million for transition and employment assistance for workers and $24 million has already been allocated for projects in regional communities," he said.