04 August, 2011

Treasury officials to front timber inquiry

ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), August 03, 2011

Treasury officials will face a South Australian parliamentary inquiry today on the planned forward sale of forest timber in the south-east.

There was a hearing at Mount Gambier recently at which former forests minister Rory McEwen said the decision to sell more than a century's worth of harvesting rights had been made by Treasury zealots.

Inquiry chairman, MP Rob Brokenshire, said Treasury's motivations would be forensically examined at the Adelaide hearing.

"Have they factored in the fact that Forestry SA really still is the foundation of all forestry activities, particularly in the south-east?" he asked.

"There are questions around how they're going to manage the rest of the forests in the mid-north, in the Adelaide Hills etcetera because they were really underpinned again by the strength of forestry in Mount Gambier.

"The Government have said that they're going ahead no matter what, but of course I think that would be a very dangerous move if the evidence of the committee does come out that shows overwhelmingly that it's in the best interests of the state not to sell."

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