Ta Ann to look today at options

TA ANN Tasmania could decide as early as today the future of processing timber in the state.

Ta Ann's board is expected to meet today to discuss whether   its operations remain viable under a forest peace deal that was signed on Thursday.

Ta Ann operates two mills, in the south and on the  North-West Coast, and is one of the state's largest forestry companies, with about 100 workers.

Operations manager Paul Woolley said yesterday that he was not in a position to comment.

As that company weighs up its options, signatories will fly to Canberra to brief the federal government.

Signatories are due to meet   federal Environment Minister Tony Burke and  Tasmania's federal parliamentary Labor Party today.

However, the Commonwealth is not expected to make any decision about extra money that will be required to underpin the agreement until after the fate of related state legislation is known.

The Legislative Council will consider the Tasmanian Forests Agreement Bill on December 11 but a majority of MLCs have already publicly expressed concerns.

Unionist Jane Calvert, who was critical in negotiating the deal, said she hoped they would keep an open mind until after they heard from signatories.

``This isn't a perfect agreement for anyone but it's important that we can explain why we landed where we did,''  Ms Calvert, of the Construction, Forestry, Energy and Mining Union, said.

``I just hope they (MLCs) hear from all of us before they press the button on anything.''

Federal Tasmanian MPs will be among those watching the Legislative Council debate closely.

Lyons Labor MHR Dick Adams said he not like aspects of the agreement but was yet to see any viable alternative.

``Wood markets here and right across the world have changed, and we have to make sure we keep the (forestry) industry alive,'' he said.

Bass Labor MHR Geoff Lyons said the agreement would not work unless legislation was passed by the Tasmanian Parliament.

 ``There is no agreement until they vote the thing in,'' he said.

Tasmanian Labor Senator Lin Thorp, who was an MLC until she lost her seat, said she expected the Legislative Council debate to take some time.

``I don't know how quickly they will be able to get through this (legislation), as they are sticklers for process,'' she said.


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