The federal Australian government has signed a deal with Tasmania which ensures the preservation of, at least, 430,000 hectars of ancient high conservation value forests.
The 430,000 hectars will be immediately protected from logging, while an additional 142,000 hectars will be set aside for eventual needs to fulfill existing logging contracts.
The conflict which has been unfolding for nearly 30 years between the federal government and state government circulates around issues of financial dependence upon logging rights. $276 million has been pledged, of which $85 million is earmarked as an exit package for forestry contractors, and some $120 million for the purpose of diversifying the economy of towns dependent on forestry over the next 15 years.
The national secretary of CFMEU – Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union – Mr. O’Connor said that, “The announcement is an important frist step in the transition of the forest products industry and Tasmanian economy”.