12 November, 2010

Brumby makes pledge on state forests

Adam Morton and Royce Millar
The Age (article), November 12, 2010

PREMIER John Brumby will today promise ''Tasmanian-style'' peace talks between loggers, unions and environmentalists in a bid to resolve decades of conflict over the forestry industry in Victoria.

A returned Labor state government would also abolish VicForests, the government agency that has faced accusations over its logging practices and economic viability.

But Mr Brumby has not guaranteed that the process will lead to greater protection of the state's old-growth forests.

He said a ''stakeholder forum'' would follow the Tasmanian model, in which timber companies, unions and green groups met for several months before submitting a joint recommendation to the government.

The federal government would then be asked for funding to carry out proposed reforms, including possibly helping workers and communities who lost their jobs.

"We have been encouraged by the approach taken in Tasmania and we hope that stakeholders in Victoria can also put forward a strong and sustainable consensus vision for the timber and forest products industry," Mr Brumby said.

"The key is to provide a fair process where all the parties feel comfortable negotiating and discussing possible solutions, without the government having a predetermined view."

No comments: