Tasmania's Premier will not guarantee a wood supply for sawmillers amid fears mills will have to close under any forest peace deal. The Tasmanian Sawmillers' Association has written to the state's MPs saying 23 regional sawmills do not have long-term written wood supply agreements. Chairman Fred Ralph says mills will have to close if a peace deal provides a sawlog quota below 155,000 cubic metres of high quality sawlog a year.
Premier Lara Giddings was asked to guarantee the sawlog supply. "There's no point asking us to guarantee anything in this situation we're in," she said. "We've been very consistent that this is a negotiation between industry and the environmental groups. "If they can come to an agreement that will be historic and we will abide by the agreement that they reach."
The 23 small sawmills employ about 250 people. Any forced to shut as a result of the intergovernmental agreement would be compensated.