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TAS Country : February 9th 2012
Friday, February 10, 2012 Tasmanian Country 9 Your Say Support for hemp I WRITE in relation to a number of letters that have appeared in recent editions of Tasmanian Country in relation to the development of the industrial hemp industry in Tasmania. For the record, the Liberals support the development of an industrial hemp industry, and have consistently stated that a majority Hodgman Liberal government would take the appropri- ate steps to streamline bureaucratic processes associated with the pro- duction of the new enterprise. The production of industrial hemp has the potential to provide an import- ant new opportunity for farmers, the state's primary industries sector and a much-needed confidence boost to our ailing economy. Every new idea with demonstrated potential should be seized upon and I commend those farmers and allied stakeholders that have worked so hard to date on this project. The Liberals will continue to do what we can to advocate for the development of an industrial hemp industry in Tasmania. I urge the Labor-Green Government to be more positive and proactive towards this opportunity. Jeremy Rockliff Opposition spokesman for Primary Industries Come clean on woodchips WE are always being told that woodchips are made from forest residue. What is forest residue? Please explain! We've all seen the media photos of large numbers of huge trucks loaded with logs going to the woodchip mill at Triabunna, where they were processed into wood- chips. Are these logs forest residue? Saw-millers use huge saws to process large saw-logs into materials for all building needs. This sawing produces sawdust, a very fine powder-like sub- stance which is nothing like woodchips. A clear explanation of what constitutes forest residue, how or if the sawdust and offcuts from saw-milling turns into wood- chips, would help to clear up all the fuzzy rhetoric which is obviously used to confuse rather than accurately inform Tasmanians about the use of our native and plantation timber. Beth Muller Glenorchy Save forest industry DEMISE: Processing sawlogs. GST revenue has fallen dramatically, employment opportunities are disappear- ing and business confidence is at an all- time low. Funding for hospitals, schools and police has been cut to such an extent these essential services can no longer be pro- vided at an acceptable level. Given all this, why would our Labor governments, both state and federal, be closing down Tasmania's forest industry? That industry provided large amounts in GST, thousands of jobs and many millions of dollars to circulate through our communities. Little more than a whimper was heard from the Labor partner of the Tasmanian Government when environmental acti- vists persuaded London Olympics flooring manufacturers to cancel the contract with Ta Ann for the supply of timber required for the building. This is just one example of the relentless and untrue propaganda, pedalled by en- vironmental groups, which has been at the root of the demise of the forest industry. Full marks to Forest Industries Associ- ation of Tasmania chief executive Terry Edwards and others who are standing up for our state while our politicians are crying poor and at the same time closing down an industry that was sustainable, successful, proven and necessary for Tasmania. Which is more important -- to maintain a slim hold on power or to save this state from a humiliating drift to dependence on others? Surely just for once Labor and Liberal politicians could put aside their political differences for the sake of Tasmania. Don McShane Perth Little humour in Bob's jobs plan FLASHBACK: Mark Latham and Bob Brown in 2004 when Mr Latham offered $800 million for 250,000ha of public forest. BOB Brown's report (Tasmanian Country, January 27) appears to be a series of cruel sick jokes on the Tasmanian people. The report (on the intergovernmen- tal forest peace deal) aims to spend $120 million, over 15 years, of regional development funding to counter the job losses that occurred with the closure of the Burnie and Wesley Vale paper mills, the Scottsdale softwood mills, the collapse of the MIS plantations sche- mes and the plantation company For- est Enterprises Australia. Yet the $120 million is also meant to address the economic damage to re- gional economies due to the with- drawal of Gunns from native forests and the Greens' demand to lock up 572,000ha of native forest as a first step to a total exit from native forest industrial harvesting. The $120 million ($209/ha) appears totally inadequate if compared to then ALP leader Mark Latham's 2004 offer of $800 million for 250,000ha of public forest claimed to be high conservation value to be declared as World Heritage Areas, National Heritage places or National parks ($3200/ha). It compares with Liberal prime minister John Howard's 2005 com- munity forest agreement compromise to reserve an extra 150,000ha of this HCV forest in exchange for investment of $250 million to transition the indus- try away from old growth to native forest regrowth and to plantations ($1,666/ha). It has been estimated that the locking up of 572,000ha will mean loss of sales of an annual growth 1.7 million cubic metres of timber or more than $100 million each year at the mill door --- not just for 15 years that the regional development will be spread over, but for all time. The second cruel joke is that the report's economic benefit is based on the extra $17 million contribution to annual GSP and 335 jobs to be gener- ated by the Three Capes track that Senator Brown has formally opposed. Other benefits appear identical to those made about wilderness tourism and National Park visitation that were made in 1989 to justify the massive expansion of the Tasmanian Wilder- ness World Heritage Area. Yet these jobs have not materialised in 20 years; instead the taxpayer continues to subsidise the WHA. Further jobs proposed in wine, dairy and wool are already on the drawing board and are not dependent on the IGA. The final sick joke is the Prime Minister stated over a year ago that the IGA would not be implemented by using new money for Tasmania but redirected from existing programs. So Bob's new jobs are not only coming from the destruction of timber industry jobs, but also at the expense of health care, education and essential services workers. 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February 2nd 2012
February 16th 2012