There is still time to reach an agreement, Tasmania premier tells forest industry, environmental groups, warns that state's ability to manage changes in forest industry will be harder without peace deal

HOBART, Tasmania , October 29, 2012 (press release) – The potential failure of the Tasmania Forest Agreement talks has highlighted more starkly than ever what both sides stand to lose if an agreement cannot be reached.

The Premier, Lara Giddings, today urged both the industry and ENGOs not to lose sight of what they have been working to achieve for over two years.

"The prospect ongoing conflict, industry uncertainty and no new reserves illustrates just how much is at stake for both sides of the forest debate if an agreement isn't reached," Ms Giddings said.

"My message to the groups around the table is there is still time to reach an agreement that provides long term security for the industry and a win for the environment."

Ms Giddings said it had taken courage and leadership for the State and Federal Government's to let the negotiations run their course.

"There are no quick or easy solutions to this debate but fear of failure should never get in the way of trying to reach an outcome.

"The forest industry will continue to change but our ability to manage that change will be made much harder without an agreement."

Ms Giddings said the Liberal Party's claim that legislation could solve the conflict was a sham.

"Legislation will not solve the problem of the high Australian dollar, it will not address changing market demands and it will not stop overseas campaigns.

"What we have seen in recent days is the exposure of the Liberal lie that simply tearing up the IGA would make all the problems in the forests go away.

"Tasmanians should consider where the industry would be now if we had taken the Liberal party's do-nothing approach - there would have been no assistance to contractors, no funding to diversify regional communities and an escalation of market based campaigns."

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