TA ANN Tasmania has abandoned plans to build a $10 million plywood mill in the North, even if the forestry peace deal is approved by the Legislative Council.
Ta Ann Tasmania executive director Evan Rolley told a parliamentary inquiry into forestry legislation yesterday that the upper house's failure to ratify the agreement last year had forced the company to shelve the plans.
``That's one of the savings we can make as a company while there remains uncertainty about our future,'' Mr Rolley said.
The company would revisit the idea if the deal was implemented, but would not commit to building the mill.
It had threatened to close its Southwood and Huon mills unless the Legislative Council approved the deal in December, but managed to strike a deal with Forestry Tasmania to enable it to remain in the state until this month, when MLCs are expected to vote on the matter.
Ta Ann estimated that it would take 18 to 24 months to rebuild its Japanese market once the legislation was passed, paving the way for 504,000 hectares of forests to be protected and for the industry to get environment groups' endorsement.
The author of a report assessing potential job losses as a result of slashing wood supply to the 137,000 cubic metres proposed in the agreement gave evidence at the hearing.
Bob Smith said time constraints meant his analysis was restricted to job numbers, rather than a proper socio-economic study examining the impacts on communities and the likely impact of mitigation measures.
``That body of work needs to be done independent of . . . whether or not there's a TFA (Tasmania Forests Agreement),'' Dr Smith said.
``The markets aren't there and what markets are there are very price-sensitive. There's no stability of employment in those markets.''
Earlier, Markets for Change chief executive Peg Putt told the committee that it had made Tasmania's market position worse by delaying the forest peace deal.
Ms Putt said Japanese buyers would not buy Tasmanian forest products until the legislation supporting the peace deal was finalised.