Reason for Ta Ann optimism

THERE is growing optimism timber processor Ta Ann will stay in Tasmania after yesterday’s forest peace deal.
Nanjing Night Net

The company _ which employs 40-50 people at Smithton and about the same number in the Huon _ was awaiting details from the state government on how the deal would affect it, spokesman Alan Ashbarry said.

“We support the principles behind the peace process,” he said.

On November 13, the company foreshadowed possibly leaving Tasmania, amid uncertainty about future timber supply and market attacks overseas.

The board was to make a decision within a fortnight.

Mr Ashbarry said there had been some indications and briefings on what the deal would mean, but he expected the company would need to think through what it meant for Ta Ann.

Having a deal resolved gave the company a chance to understand constraints on operating in Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Minerals Council will lobby the Legislative Council to reject the deal.

“We believe the right balance on reserves was struck in Tasmania in 1998 and there is no need, other than political need, for new reserves,” council executive director Terry Long said.

A Coalition government would not recognise any new reserves created in the “sham, unrepresentative IGA deal”, Tasmanian Liberal senator Richard Colbeck said.

He said Tasmanian Labor members had given their policy development responsibilities as elected members to “the CFMEU, the Wilderness Society and Environment Tasmania, among others”.

“If they are not interested in doing what they were elected to do they should get out and hand the job over to someone who will.”

Support for the deal is believed to have split the board of the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania.

JOB HOPES RAISED: The forest peace deal could give Ta Ann greater security to continue its operations in the state. Picture: Grant Wells.

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