Timber deal could save hundreds of jobs says Burke
The newly created Tasmanian Forests agreement has the potential to save as many as 500 jobs, according to a new socio-economic impacts study released by the Federal Government.
Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, was joined by Regional Minister Simon Crean in releasing the report, which shows that the jobs can be signed if the $120 million agreement is implemented.
"The number of jobs in the Tasmanian forestry industry halved between 2006 and 2011 in response to market forces," Mr Crean said.
"The modelling in this study predicts more of the same, in the absence of the long-term, durable solution to the forestry dispute offered by the Tasmanian Forests Agreement.
"An estimated 678 direct jobs will go unless the agreement is implemented. That compares with expected job losses of 142 under a managed transition to the wood supplies guaranteed in the historic deal signed by the Reference Group of Signatories last year."
Mr Crean said the economic diversification funding was already delivering real benefits to regional Tasmania, with the first $24 million tranche of those funds invested in projects driven by communities to diversify and strengthen the economy, attracting investment, growth and jobs.
"We recently announced the release of $3 million for urgent work on residues and specialty timber and convened the Economic Diversification Tasmania Taskforce to bring business, union and community leaders together to identify opportunities to unlock future investments, create jobs and turn Tasmania's abundant natural advantages into a competitive edge," Mr Crean said.