1 December 1995
The Federal Government will commit up to $107 million over 5 years to a structural adjustment package for the forest industry, the Minister for Resources, David Beddall announced today.
The NSW Government has also committed $60 million, making a national total of up to $167 million available for industry restructure.
"The Government has always recognised that the Deferred Forest Assessments (DFA's) and Regional Forest Agreements (RFA's) would require some adjustment due to changes in the use of native forests," Mr Beddall said.
"The Federal Government's package clearly signifies its commitment to assist industry and the forest community to meet those adjustment challenges.
"Eligibility for this assistance package is primarily for native forest workers, direct forestry businesses and their employees. Other businesses who predominantly supply goods and services to the industry and who have been made financially unviable as a result of this process will also be eligible," Mr Beddall said.
The key elements of the package include:
- A Forest Industry Labour Adjustment Package - which will include elements such as relocation and retraining assistance.
- Rescheduling Assistance - for the construction of additional roads to access coupes required as a result of rescheduling decisions. Consideration would also be given to assistance for those businesses which may incur substantial additional costs as a result of rescheduling.
- Restructuring Assistance - which will assist eligible businesses to restructure to accommodate changes in the forest resource or move to higher value adding opportunities.
- Business Exit Assistance - will be available to assist adversely affected businesses which need to leave the industry, as well as others wanting to leave where their departure may assist enhancing achievement of the objectives of the National Forest Policy Statement, including creating further value adding opportunities. Eligibility criteria are currently being developed.
"The $107 million made available for this package from the Commonwealth should not be seen as separate to the current range of existing Commonwealth programs which will also facilitate the regional adjustment process.
"For example, AusIndustry's enterprise development programs, the Department of Employment, Education and Training's employment programs and the Commonwealth Regional Development Program run by the Department of Housing and Regional Development, will be important sources of assistance for regional communities, including those with large native forest industries," Mr Beddall said.
New South Wales Joint Package:
"Up to $60 million of the Commonwealth's $107 million package will be made available to NSW to implement a joint structural adjustment package in that State as soon as possible," Mr Beddall said.
"This funding allocation recognises the particular circumstances facing the forest industry in that State, as well as the substantial $60 million funding commitment for industry restructuring announced by the NSW Premier, Mr Carr, earlier this year.
"The $120 million joint Commonwealth/New South Wales package will include the elements outlined above, as well as a range of additional measures which will be funded separately by the State Government. NSW funded measures include redundancy payments to affected workers as well as additional relocation payments and retraining allowances.
"To ensure that the joint package is implemented in a coordinated and effective manner, the broad management and funding arrangements will be the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Commonwealth and the State, to be signed by the Prime Minister and the Premier of New South Wales as soon as possible," Mr Beddall said.
Tamara Johnson (06) 2777440 (015) 266370