FORESTRY Tasmania's incoming chairman has quit less than a month after his appointment, saying state government plans would ``emasculate'' the ailing business.
Announcing his sudden resignation from the board yesterday, Miles Hampton also accused the government of deliberately starving Forestry Tasmania of cash as part of a plan to bring it under ministerial direction.
He was scathing of the government, in particular Deputy Premier Bryan Green, for breaking promises about the planned major restructure of the government business enterprise.
``I do not believe the government has any intention of establishing a viable forestry business through its proposed restructuring of Forestry Tasmania,'' Mr Hampton said yesterday.
``I resigned because I no longer have confidence in the assurances given to me by government, nor do I support the policies of the government.''
Mr Green yesterday described Mr Hampton's decision as disappointing.
Mr Hampton had been on the board for five years and was appointed chairman on August 27.
He read out a lengthy statement yesterday afternoon and did not answer questions from the media.
His resignation takes effect immediately, leaving just four board members.
On August 22, Mr Hampton received a draft letter from Mr Green outlining plans to split the government business in two and make it accountable to a committee comprising heads of government departments.
He said this was ``inconsistent'' with previous assurances that Forestry Tasmania would retain control of commercial forests.
``In my view it would result in a complete emasculation of FT,'' he said.
He went on to accuse the government of deliberately bleeding Forestry Tasmania of cash in order to appease the Greens and justify the planned changes.
In a brief statement, Mr Green said the government was committed to ensuring that Forestry Tasmania was a strong and sustainable government business enterprise.
``The government recognises it is an extremely challenging time and we will work through the normal processes to have a stable board within Forestry Tasmania,'' Mr Green said.
Outgoing chairman Adrian Kloeden will continue until his term finishes at the end of this month.
State Opposition Leader Will Hodgman said Mr Hampton's statement reaffirmed that Labor was captive to the Greens.
``If the chairman of Forestry Tasmania can't trust the government, then how can the Tasmanian community?'' Mr Hodgman asked.