Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement
The Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement was a previous government initiative signed by the then Prime Minister, the Hon. Julia Gillard MP, and the then Tasmanian Premier, the Hon. Lara Giddings MP, on 7 August 2011.
Under the agreement $277 million, including $15 million from the Tasmanian Government, was to be provided in the following key areas:
- $85 million to support contractors and their families affected by the downturn in the industry, and in particular Gunns Limited’s decision to exit native forest harvesting
- including $45 million under the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement Contractors Voluntary Exit Grants Program managed by the Department of Agriculture
- $43 million to facilitate protection of new reserve areas
- $120 million over 15 years, including an initial payment of $20 million to identify and fund appropriate regional development projects
- $7 million per annum ongoing to manage new reserves
An Independent Verification Group established to provide advice to the Prime Minister and the Tasmanian Premier provided its report on 23 March 2012. Coordination of the Australian Government’s engagement in the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement was led by the Department of the Environment (see archival material).
Australian Government’s response to the Statement of Principles on Tasmanian forests—December 2010
In December 2010, some Tasmanian forestry industry representatives, a union and some environmental organisations developed the Tasmanian forests statement of principles to lead to an agreement as a step toward balancing conservation and sustainable development and management of Tasmania’s forest resources.
To support the statement of principles, the then Australian Government worked with the then Tasmanian Government to undertake an initial due diligence assessment and jointly appointed an independent facilitator, Mr Bill Kelty AC, to work with the signatories to develop an implementation plan.
The Australian Government tabled the interim report from Mr Bill Kelty in the Australian Parliament on 5 April 2011.
The due diligence assessment included the preparation of a report by the Cooperative Research Centre for Forestry titled:
- Socioeconomic impacts of forest industry change: a baseline study of the Tasmanian forest industry PDF [6.3 MB] *;
and a report by Forestry Tasmania titled:
- Evaluation of Wood Resource Scenarios relevant to the Tasmanian Forests Statement of Principles to lead to an Agreement – Final Report to Signatories PDF [1.9 MB] *.
In addition, Professor Jerry Vanclay (Southern Cross University) and Professor Cris Brack (Waiariki Institute of Technology, NZ) were appointed to conduct an independent review of Forestry Tasmania’s Sustainable Yield Systems as part of due diligence assessment to verify wood resource scenarios:
Further independent verification work was undertaken in accordance with the Intergovernmental Agreement signed on 7 August 2011.
* These publications were not prepared by the department and may not meet Australian Government accessibility guidelines. If you require an accessible version of these publications, please contact their author.
Freedom of information requests
The department received an FOI application (ref: FOI 2010/11-57) seeking access to documents regarding a potential Joint Venture Partner, financier, investor and/or investment by any third party for the Gunns Ltd proposed pulp mill. The applicant has been advised that some of the documentation sought has been exempted in full.
The department received an FOI application (ref: FOI 2011/12-10) seeking access to documents, in connection with an agreement on the Tasmanian forests, which deal with compensating Gunns Ltd for having decided to exit native forests production and/or give up its wood supply quotas.
Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 are available in the department's FOI disclosure log.