Australian MP Tony Burke supports Ta Ann Tasmania

In a recent exchange at the House of Representatives in Australia, the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities has attacked the campaigns against Ta Ann Tasmania by environmental groups and supported the job creation efforts in Tasmania by the group in particular.  The transcipt is copied below.

Thursday 16 February 2012

My question is to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Will the minister update the House on the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement and the government’s position on marketing campaigns in the Tasmanian forestry sector? How is the government working to support jobs in Tasmania, and are there any threats to the progress?

The SPEAKER: I call the honourable minister for just about everything!

Mr BURKE (Watson—Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities) (14:55): I want to thank the member for Bass for his question. He has a strong timber community in his electorate and a very passionate commitment to ongoing forestry in Tasmania. It has been this issue and the market change that brought the two governments to the table to help Tasmania with the changes that are going on, in recent weeks and months there have been impacts on Tasmania’s industry that are not because of market changes.

There have been a number of campaigns that have been run which have created a very real impact on the Tasmanian economy and which need to be dealt with directly.

While the peak environmental groups have remained at the negotiating table working through future peace agreements, you cannot expect peace at a negotiating table while the battle intensifies in the marketplace.

A minority of groups have been involved in these market campaigns but we have seen them as attacks on Harvey Norman, on our contracts with the London Olympics, and on the operations of Ta Ann and Britton Timbers at the precise time that these businesses have been at the table trying to work through a sustainable solution.

These campaigns attack Tasmanian jobs and they jeopardise the opportunity for an enduring conservation outcome.

If they were successful they would only result in increased demand for unsustainable rainforest timber from overseas.

We came to the table to support jobs. We came to the table in the knowledge that because of the changes there may well be significant and one-off opportunities for enduring conservation outcomes.

We support jobs and all efforts to end the conflict, but we are unreservedly opposed to the attacks on markets.