Protecting Tasmanian forests and jobs
FRI 19 AUGUST 2011
Prime Minister, Premier of Tasmania
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings today welcomed the release of Terms of Reference for the verification of guaranteed wood supply and high conservation value forests under the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement.
The document, which was endorsed yesterday by all signatories to the forestry Statement of Principles process, is the next step in progressing the joint objectives of environmental protection and support for a strong and viable forest industry.
Professor Jonathan West has been appointed to lead the group, in recognition of his extensive knowledge and understanding of Tasmanian industry as the head of the Australian Innovation Research Centre.
Other relevant independent experts, including those with expertise in geology and mineralogy, will be jointly appointed by both governments, following consultation with the Reference Group of Signatories.
The group will independently verify the wood supply needs of the industry, along with the high conservation values of native forests identified by the environmental non-governmental organisations.
The Terms of Reference are designed to ensure that all stakeholders and the wider community can have confidence in the independence and veracity of the process.
The signatories will be asked to endorse the design and underlying methodology of the verification process and, in doing so, provide a commitment that they will accept the results once it is completed. If they do so, the governments will agree to be bound by the outcomes of the verification process.
Forestry Tasmania has welcomed the Terms of Reference and has committed to supporting the verification process as much as it can while honouring contractual obligations to supply its customers.
The group of experts will also consult widely with other external stakeholders including the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, the Local Government Association of Tasmania, the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association.
The Verification Group will submit a draft report to both governments before 1 December.
A final report, taking into consideration feedback supplied by governments will be submitted to the Prime Minister and the Premier by 31 December.