RESOURCES Minister Bryan Green has defended his decision to keep quiet on Forestry Tasmania's purchase of a Southern sawmill and denied misleading Parliament.
The opposition yesterday grilled Mr Green on the details and timing of information he received from Forestry Tasmania about its purchase of Southwood sawmill for $3.3 million from Gunns.
The attack prompted Mr Green to release redacted versions of briefing notes he received from Forestry Tasmania about the mill's ownership.
Victorian company Dell Vista was announced as the buyer of the mill in the Huon Valley in October last year, but on Tuesday, it was revealed Forestry Tasmania had taken ownership.
The Greens exposed the secret transaction, which was finalised in June when Dell Vista defaulted on a two-week loan from Forestry Tasmania.
Mr Green said he had been keen to see the mill reopen and had repeatedly asked Forestry Tasmania for updates on its progress.
``I was frustrated that the process couldn't be finalised in terms of the mill starting to operate,'' Mr Green said.
``We've always said this is an important strategic asset.''
The briefing notes show he was formally advised the day after Forestry Tasmania lent Dell Vista the money to buy the mill and updated again when ``technical hitches'' were blamed for delays in its repayment.
He said Forestry Tasmania's investment was not revealed at the time because of the ongoing negotiations with Neville Smith Timbers to operate the mill.
In Parliament, Liberal leader Will Hodgman said Forestry Tasmania managing director Bob Gordon's statements on ABC radio yesterday morning had contradicted Mr Green's comments that he did not know about the loan or change of ownership until after it happened.
Mr Green said the briefing notes clarified the timing and there was no discrepancy between Mr Gordon and his own version of events.