Pleas on forest deal rejected

Bass Liberal MHA Peter Gutwein in Hobart yesterday. Picture: GEORGIE BURGESS
Bass Liberal MHA Peter Gutwein in Hobart yesterday. Picture: GEORGIE BURGESS

THE Liberal Party remains committed to tearing up the Tasmanian Forestry Agreement despite renewed calls from industry, union and environmental groups to keep it intact.

Bass Liberal MHA Peter Gutwein said he would meet industry representatives later this week to discuss the party's forestry plan, but would not say what the plan involved.

"We've made it perfectly clear we've opposed the forestry deal," Mr Gutwein said.

"We will tear the deal up and we will sit down with industry stakeholders and talk with them on the best way to rebuild the industry."

Mr Gutwein indicated that it was unlikely environmental groups would be included in the discussions, saying the groups had already made their view on the forestry deal perfectly clear.

"They have locked up large tracts of Tasmania for no good reason, they have cost this state investment, and they have cut jobs," he said.

"If they want to have a 180-degree turn and start to talk to us about rebuilding the industry, then I am happy to talk to them."

Environment Tasmania director Phil Pullinger said he was disappointed with Mr Gutwein's position.

"We're very happy to meet with the incoming government, the incoming minister, to outline our commitment to the forest agreement and our commitment to be a part of rebuilding the forestry industry and stabilising their markets," Mr Pullinger said.

"But we're certainly not going to say `Yes, Minister' and say a bad policy is actually a good policy."

Jane Calvert, of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, said the union did not support premier-elect Will Hodgman's plan to tear up the Tasmanian Forest Agreement.

"Ending this agreement will put timber workers' jobs on the path to destruction," Ms Calvert said.

"Mr Hodgman does not have our endorsement to destroy jobs."

Forest Industry Association Tasmania chief executive Terry Edwards said the TFA was delivering on its outcomes, and he remained 100 per cent committed to the agreement.


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