UNCERTAINTY FOR TA ANN AS THE FOREST INDUSTRY LEAVES PEACE TALKS IN TASMANIA

The Forest Industries Association of Tasmania (FIAT) and the national forest industry representative group, the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), have both suspended their participation in the forests peace process.

Yet Ta Ann Tasmania is reliant on the delivery of a forests agreement to maintain markets access.  Customer companies in Japan are well aware of the ongoing conflict over controversial logging of high conservation value forests to produce Ta Ann plywood, logging which has continued without respite in key areas.

No agreement has yet been delivered for the secure, permanent protection of any forests whatsoever, after years of talks. A recent ‘interim agreement’ comprehensively failed to deliver any forest protection.

Yet Ta Ann claim they are seeking environmentally acceptable wood and are reliant on concluding a forests deal to prove to the market that unacceptable logging has been fixed and new reserves created. The prospects of a peace agreement have been dealt a blow by their own industry association.

Does Ta Ann Tasmania have any influence within the forest industries associations that are supposed to represent them?

Sawmiller members of the association are trying to bully the Tasmanian government into changing their decision to split the state forest agency, Forestry Tasmania. This agency is losing $35 million a year or more and being propped up by taxpayer funds that are urgently needed for health, education and policing in Tasmania. The government decision to bring Forestry Tasmania under tight government control was announced in Parliament last week, pursuant to advice from expert consultants URS. The main beneficiaries of the current situation where Forestry Tasmania is rampantly politicised and funnelling public money into the industry are the big sawmilling companies of Tasmania, who do not want to lose their privileged position.

With the forest talks again in disarray a resolution of the conflict is now further away. This continues and exacerbates uncertainty for Ta Ann.

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