Tasmanian Forests

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Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement

Intergovernmental Agreement

The Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement is designed to support the forest industry to progressively transition to a more sustainable and diversified footing and to build regional economic diversity and community resilience.

Signed by the Prime Minister and Tasmanian Premier on 7 August 2011 the landmark agreement aims to provide certainty for Tasmania’s forestry industry, support local jobs and communities, and protect the state’s ancient forests.

It will help the forest industry adapt to market changes while protecting the communities and families that rely on the sector to survive.

Under the agreement a total of $277 million, including $15.5 million from the State Government will be provided in the following key areas:

  • $85 million to support contractors and their families affected by the downturn in the industry, and in particular Gunns Limited's decision to exit native forest harvesting
  • $43 million to facilitate protection of new areas of high conservation value forests
  • $120 million over 15 years, including an initial payment of $20 million to identify and fund appropriate regional development projects
  • $7 million per annum ongoing to manage new reserves
  • $1 million for mental health counseling and community wellbeing

Independent verification

An Independent Verification Group has been established to provide advice to the Prime Minister and the Tasmanian Premier on sustainable timber supply requirements and areas and boundaries of reserves from within the ENGO-nominated 572,000 hectares of native forest.

For the first time, this process will provide an independent and robust assessment of conservation values and timber supply requirements, and recommendations of the areas that should be protected in permanent reserve.

Conservation Agreement

Prior to the completion of the Independent Verification process, and in accordance with clause 36 of the Intergovernmental Agreement, the two governments and Forestry Tasmania have negotiated and signed a Conservation Agreement. Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 the Conservation Agreement provides legally binding protection for an interim forest area of almost 430,000 hectares.

To inform the development of the Conservation Agreement independent expert forest schedulers explored all possible options for rescheduling any existing harvesting work that was already occurring in the interim area.

Independent Verification Group Report

Professor Jonathan West, Chair of the Independent Verification Group, has released the Group's comprehensive assessment of the Tasmanian forestry industry's timber supply requirements and the conservation values of nominated areas of Tasmania's native forests.

The independent expert advice provides a sound factual basis to inform the development of an agreed solution that optimises wood supply and conservation outcomes. This process, led by Professor West with forestry and conservation experts, was agreed by industry, union and environment Signatories to the Statement of Principles.

Reference Group of Signatories report

The Reference Group of Signatories under the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement has provided a report to the Australian and Tasmanian Governments on the progress of negotiations. This report has been provided under clause 45 of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement.

Socio-economic report

The Australian Government has released a socio-economic report produced by Dr. Bob Smith. This report was requested by the Signatories and considers direct job impacts as a result of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, compared to a scenario with no Agreement.

Tasmanian Forests Agreement Legislation 2013

The Australian Government has confirmed it will work with the Tasmanian Government to deliver the outcomes envisaged by the Reference Group of Signatories, in the wake of amendments to the Tasmanian Forests Agreement bill. The Environment Minister has written to the Reference Group of Signatories outlining the Australian Government's commitments to the agreement.

Further information