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From the Premier's Desk

Our forest industry is changing.
International demand for our woodchips is vulnerable and Gunns is exiting native forest harvesting. 

Since 2008 these changes have resulted in a halving of the number of Tasmanians employed in forestry, from 6460 down to 3260. 

These factors are largely outside the Government’s control and they are not things we can wish away or ignore.

Unfortunately this is process is causing pain for the families affected and for the rural communities which traditionally relied on forestry. 

The State Government’s job is to respond to what is happening and seek the best outcome for Tasmania.

We remain deeply committed to the forest industry and see a long-term future for the industry in this State. 

I signed an Intergovernmental Agreement with Prime Minister Julia Gillard following the leadership shown by signatories to the Statement of Principles in attempting to end decades of bitter conflict and division over forestry.

The Agreement provides funding of up to $276 million to directly assist those affected and to help their communities create new jobs in future. 

It delivers a compromise that will protect jobs and transition the forest industry, while placing significant areas of old growth and high conservation value forest in reserve.

It also ensures we will honour all existing forestry contracts.

I share the hope of many Tasmanians that our community will be able to move from this debate.

But I also understand the agreement cannot deliver peace in the forests on its own.

Now, more than ever, we need to see leadership and maturity from both sides of the debate.

We need to work together to achieve positive change in the forest industry and ensure a strong and vibrant future for those who remain in the industry and the communities that rely on them to survive.