17 September, 2012

Govt 'starving' Forestry Tasmania of cash

ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), Sep 17, 2012

Forestry Tasmania chairman Miles Hampton has resigned over the State Government's restructuring plan for the state-owned company.

Mr Hampton said he could no longer support the policies of the Government and accused it of trying to starve Forestry Tasmania of cash.

Resources Minister Bryan Green wants to create a statutory authority to take control of production forests from Forestry Tasmania.

Mr Hampton said the decision was not in the best interests of the company and would result in its complete emasculation.

In a carefully scripted statement, Mr Hampton said he had lost faith in the Government because it had broken assurances the company would retain control of production forests.

Mr Hampton also used his statement to accuse the Government of starving the company of cash in order to justify bringing Forestry Tasmania under ministerial control.

The Government had led him to believe the company would be left to continue as a stand alone entity but there had since been an "about face".

"I do not believe that the Government has any intention of establishing a viable forestry business through its proposed restructuring of Forestry Tasmania," he said.

He refused to take questions after giving his statement to the media.

Mr Hampton's resignation is effective immediately.

He was appointed chairman just three weeks ago, after serving five years on the board.

The Government's move has also caused two industry signatories to the forestry peace talks to walk away from the negotiating table.

The Forestry Industry Association and the Australian Forest Products Association say the move is an unnecessary proposal that undermines the peace process.

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