NSW Labor has today welcomed the Government’s adoption of its call to stop the sell-off of Forestry Corporation.
NSW Labor has strongly opposed the sell-off of Forestry Corporation since it was first announced in August last year.
The adoption of NSW Labor’s policy to retain Forestry Corporation in public ownership will provide much-needed certainty in rural and regional communities where Forestry Corporation is one of the biggest employers.
This is great news for Forestry Corporation’s 560 workers, including over 200 in the softwoods division.
It’s also great news for the timber-dependent rural and regional communities of Tumut, Tumbarumba, Gandagai, Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Grafton.
NSW Labor Shadow Minister for Natural Resources, Paul Scully said the announcement to sell-off Forestry Corporation last year was an ideological frolic that had no practical merit.
“It’s disappointing that the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government have put hundreds of workers through emotional turmoil for months while they just wasted millions of dollars paying out money to high-priced Sydney-based merchant bankers, lawyers and accountants.
“The Government insisted on a grotesque spending spree, doubling the original cost of its scoping study to $1.3 million, while fires raged through forests and plantations up and down the east coast of New South Wales.
“I’m pleased that the Government has finally seen some common sense and adopted NSW Labor’s consistent call, supported by timber-dependent rural and regional communities, to stop the sell-off process of Forestry Corporation”, he said.
Mr Scully said he has written to the Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, outlining a series of measures the Government should adopt to help forestry and timber-dependent communities recover from the recent fire devastation, which included abandoning the Forestry Corporation sale:
- APPOINT a Forestry Recovery Commissioner, along with a timber industry recovery advisory taskforce to guide the implementation of a recovery plan
- GUARANTEE the replanting and re-establishment of plantation areas
- DELIVER financial support for mill operators to accommodate the additional capital expenditure needed and help to support cash flows during the years of recovery facing the industry
- CONTRIBUTE to the cost of fencing repair for properties adjoining Forestry Corporation property
- REPAIR damaged roads, fire trails, bridges, power and communications infrastructure in forestry estates
- ERADICATE weeds and pests, especially blackberries which are a substantial contributor to high fuel loads
- ESTABLISH a workforce plan for mill workers as the industry runs at lower capacity which is expected in the next two to three years.
“The forestry and timber-dependent communities of New South Wales face enormous challenges over the next decade.
“I hope the Deputy Premier will take on board the ideas NSW Labor has put forward to make sure communities recover from the impact of fire devastation and are put back onto a path of sustainable regrowth as soon as possible”, Mr Scully said.