‘All spin, no action’: Questions over Labor jobs plan

 

THE State Government still hasn't established a key advisory panel that was spruiked as part of a major jobs announcement made more than nine months ago in the marginal seat of Maryborough.

Annastacia Palaszczuk announced her Government's new timber action plan in November 2019, flanked by Cabinet members and local MP Bruce Saunders.

The plan included delaying the protection of thousands of hectares of land north of Noosa in a bid to safeguard 500 timber jobs, with an advisory panel to oversee and help plan for the future with industry.

Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders.
Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders.

But in a question on notice, Agricultural Minister Mark Furner revealed the Government was yet to establish the panel, saying an announcement would be made in due course.

And it's not known how much a comprehensive two-year timber supply study, that's earmarked for completion next year, is going to cost.

Timber industry calls for government to act

Timber Queensland CEO Mick Stephens said the independent peak body was alarmed by the lack of progress on both the study and the panel, saying priority should be given to the issue of native forest resource security for the hardwood industry.

"Given the importance of resource security and role of the panel in identifying supply options, we are concerned about the slow rate of progress," he said.

Hardwood timber harvesting in the Wide Bay Burnett region was extended by up to two years, guaranteeing access for select felling up to 2026.

Opposition agriculture spokesman Tony Perrett and Agricultural Minister Mark Furner
Opposition agriculture spokesman Tony Perrett and Agricultural Minister Mark Furner

Mr Furner refused to answer several questions from The Courier-Mail, instead saying the panel's membership was expected to be finalised soon.

Asked whether the study, which will identify sustainable future options for timber supply, was on track to be completed next year, the Minister said it was scheduled to be completed in 2021.

"DAF has already undertaken a range of work to guide the resource assessment component of the study," he said.

Opposition agriculture spokesman Tony Perrett said the $3.8 billion timber industry supported 25,000 direct and indirect jobs.

"Nearly a year ago Annastacia Palaszczuk went to Maryborough to try and quell her disaffected regional backbench by announcing a timber plan, but it's all spin and no action," he said.

"The Palaszczuk Labor Government hasn't even established the timber advisory group that was supposed to be responsible for overseeing and working with the industry about a sustainable economic future."

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk during a press conference in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk during a press conference in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

Originally published as 'All spin, no action': Questions over Labor jobs plan


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