Interim agreement welcomed Wed 15 August 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Bryan Green Deputy Premier The State Government today welcomed the signing of an Interim Agreement as a major step towards securing the future of Tasmania's forest industry. Premier Lara Giddings congratulated key industry, union and environmental groups for their commitment to reaching a lasting resolution to the divisive forest debate. "This Interim Agreement brings us closer than ever to a solution that provides jobs for forest workers and protection for high conservation forests," Ms Giddings said. "This is an opportunity of the like we have never seen before to end the decades of forest conflict in Tasmania." "We should not underestimate what has been achieved to this point." "Importantly the signatories have agreed to proactively support the objectives of this agreement including FSC certification of native forests and the sale of Tasmanian forest products in overseas markets. "This is a crucial step to ensuring the international reputation of our forest industry is strengthened in response to changing market demands." Deputy Premier, Bryan Green, said the signatories would now work to finalise an agreement to provide wood supply across the industry and further protection of Tasmanian forests. He supported calls by the signatories for all political parties and the broader community to support the shared objectives of the Interim Agreement. "It is time for the Liberal Party to work with the respected industry stakeholders around the negotiating table who recognise that reaching agreement is the only way forward. "This process began in response to the worst downturn our forest industry has seen and not the cause as the Liberal Party continues to dishonestly claim. "To date the Australian and Tasmanian Governments have delivered more than $100 million in assistance and support to forest contractors, workers and regional communities." "We will continue to stand by the forest industry as the signatories work towards a lasting agreement," Ms Giddings said. Mr Green said the signatories had given a commitment that a final agreement would provide native forest and plantation wood supplies to industry including family-owned sawmills, veneer mills and speciality timber craftspeople. "The Interim Agreement sets Tasmania on a path to securing a future for our native forest industry and significant conservation outcomes." "I have seen first-hand how complex and difficult this process has been but also the goodwill and resolve of the signatories to reach agreement. "The Government remains firmly focussed on achieving outcomes that deliver wood supplies to all sectors of industry, job security for forest workers and strong regional communities," Mr Green said.