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Government, opposition dump loggers

Media Release
Bob Brown 28 Oct 2009

The government and opposition have today voted down a Greens' motion to protect Tasmanian logging contractors from financial ruin with fair compensation for those leaving the industry.

The motion read:

That the Senate-
(a) notes the financial plight of Tasmanian logging contractors, who have endured frequent cuts to timber quotas and shutdowns of mills and chippers; and
(b) calls on the Australian Government to help the Tasmanian Government:
(i) fund a financial exit package of a minimum of $20 million that allows those contactors facing financial ruin to leave the industry with dignity,
(ii) assess fair compensation for those contractors leaving the industry,
(iii) recover from Gunns Limited and Forestry Tasmania the total cost of the compensation package by the imposition of a levy on all future woodchip sales, and
(iv) conserve an areas equivalent to the total contracted volumes of wood from those contactors who exit the industry.

Senator Brown told the Senate:

"Gunns is a multi-million dollar company, Forestry Tasmania has a multi-million dollar resource. The Labor and Liberal parties always cry for jobs, but refuse this sort of effort to protect those jobs when people are in hard times. Is it not reasonable that Gunns and Forestry Tasmania should be asked to put a one or two percent levy on the royalties they take to ensure that these Tasmanian citizens who have invested so much are not simply thrown to the wolves?"

"When it gets down to the crunch, Labor and Liberal in this place, as well as in the Tasmanian Parliament, have serially abandoned these workers. The Greens have no trouble at all with saying, fair go here, give these contractors a fair go. This motion is a dinkum motion to give contractors a fair go."

"It's up to Labor and Liberal to support this motion instead of dumping these
workers, now that real action is being proposed by the Greens," Senator Brown said.

Senator Brown told the Senate that a similar motion from Bass Greens' MP Kim Booth was voted down in the Tasmanian House of Assembly this year.

Media contact: Peter Stahel 0433 005 727



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