Australian Forest Products Assn. backs Tasmanian forest industry's suspension of involvement in peace talks, calls for single, independent statutory body to manage production forests to ensure long-term sustainability

CANBERRA, Australia , September 13, 2012 (press release) – The Australian Forest Products Association fully supports the position of the Tasmanian forest industry in suspending further involvement in the forests agreement negotiations until assurances given by the State government regarding the management structure of wood production forests are fulfilled.

AFPA has actively promoted in discussions with the Tasmanian Government, and with forest agreement signatories, the need to maintain a single, integrated and independent statutory manager, with fiduciary responsibilities, responsible for commercial operations and with full control of the permanent (multiple-use) production forest zones, to provide the necessary security for investment that is at arms length from Government. Any arrangement which separates the management of the production forests from commercial operational management undermines the durability of any forest agreement.

Without such durability provisions, the long term security of future wood supply and industry growth is put at risk by the Minister and politics of the day. This is fundamental to any forest agreement and has been a consistent theme in negotiations, now threatened by the Government’s decision.

AFPA has therefore suspended its participation in the Tasmanian negotiations pending (the) satisfactory assurances from Government.

“We are disappointed that the opportunity to resolve the decades long dispute over forestry in Tasmania is being threatened by this unnecessary proposal, and we urge the government to reconsider its position in the full context of the outcomes all parties are seeking to achieve through the forest agreement process,” said Dr David Pollard, AFPA’s CEO.

In participating in this process, AFPA has consistently maintained the requirement for the durability of outcomes for the forest products industry, its employees, contractors and associated communities.

AFPA represents forest growers, harvesters, and manufacturers of timber and paper products.

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