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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Release - 300 Scottsdale timber mill workers

Media Release

Shadow Forestry Minister
Friday January 20, 2006

300 Scottsdale timber mill workers need the sort of resource certainty offered to Malaysian company this week

Following this week’s good news announcement that a Malaysian company will be developing a rortary veneer mill project in the Huon, the State Liberals have today called on the hands-off Forestry Minister Bryan Green to intervene in a precarious situation for 300 timber mill workers at the two softwood processing plants in Scottsdale.

“These workers can be forgiven for being amazed that the Malaysian company in question has been offered a 20 year wood supply agreement when the best that their softwood mills may be able to achieve will be a seven year deal,” Opposition Leader and Shadow Forestry Minister Rene Hidding said.

“Seven years is a very short time in terms of investment and is out of synch with normal ten year business investment rotation periods,” Mr Hidding said.

“While the owner of the two mills in Scottsdale is dealing with a commercial company, Rayonier, as the contracted forest manager, Forestry Tasmania has one of three seats on the joint venture board which managers the softwood resource in North East Tasmania, and therefore the disparity between the two deals will be seen as highly unfair by the 300 workers.”

Mr Hidding said Premier Paul Lennon needs to explain to the 300 workers in Bass why the workers in his electorate appear to be able to benefit from substantial resource security while the 300 existing workers in Bass are being treated the way they are.

“Premier Lennon needs to instruct his hands off Forestry Minister to get himself involved in the stalled negotiations between Auspine and Rayonier to at least move past the fact that they only currently have resource security for 12 months, with only the insufficient period of seven years on the table.

“Minister Green also has the possibility in his own electorate of Braddon of this Malaysian company taking up an option to develop a plant in Smithton for which another 20 year wood supply agreement has been offered.”


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