Forestry – Back to Normal?

Media release – Guy Barnett, Minister for Resources, 3 May 2020

Tasmanian forest industry shows confidence

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is committed to protecting and building the forestry sector, recognising it is vital employer in many regional communities.

While we are all faced with the extraordinary challenge of COVID-19, as the Resources Minister, I am extremely proud of the way the forestry industry has proactively adapted to working in unprecedented circumstances.

Thanks to the dedication and commitment of businesses and employees, and the ongoing demand for timber exports, the forestry sector will be a key leader in the recovery and rebuilding phase for the Tasmanian economy, driving investment and providing thousands of jobs, many in regional areas.

I am encouraged by the findings of the Safety in the Tasmanian Forestry industry through COVID-19 survey, distributed by the COVID-19 Communications Working Group, which showcased the preparedness and flexibility of a workforce keen to get on with the job and work with new regulations to ensure the industry continues to operate throughout the pandemic.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 98 per cent of respondents were confident to somewhat confident, their organisation could operate safely and efficiently through this pandemic.
  • 86 per cent found it easy or somewhat easy to implement social distancing and safe hygiene work practices – allowing business to continue.
  • 82 per cent are confident they can work safely through this period.

These results show that the forestry industry is the perfect example of people and businesses making adjustments so they can continue to work safely during this time, in a way that limits contact with other people.

The Government also recognises that Tasmanian businesses and communities need extra support during this time, which is why we announced our second round support package, which sits alongside the Federal Government package.

For specific information on business support grants and loans, please refer to the Business Tasmania website or call them direct on 1800 440 026. Federal information can be accessed at
Aurora and TasWater have also implemented assistance schemes and information is available on their websites.

I encourage everyone to look out for each other, be considerate and be kind. Stay at home unless you need to go out for work, essential supplies, exercise or you’re caring for someone.

Media release – Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Forests spokesperson, 3 May 2020

Minister Barnett Needs a Big Rethink

Resources Minister, Guy Barnett, needs to take a broader view of Tasmania’s forestry sector and its potential role in this island’s recovery from coronavirus.

While the coronavirus pandemic has rightly been our recent focus, the climate crisis has not simply disappeared. Our recovery from COVID-19 should prioritise building a society that can flourish into the future, not accelerate us towards further upheaval.

Protecting native forests and restoring landscapes are critical components of climate action. The Greens encourage Mr Barnett to exercise his imagination about how skilled native forest workers can help to repair and rewild Tasmania, and protect us from future threats like bushfires.

As a Member for Lyons, Mr Barnett is well placed to bring together farmers, scientists, forest workers and conservationists to replant and restore the Midlands. It’s a landscape crying out for repair and reforesting.

This project would drive jobs, improve soil and water health, and bolster our carbon stores.

Rather than being such a vocal champion for the destruction of forest ecosystems, Mr Barnett could lead a conversation with industry about a new future.

With sudden and devastating clarity, the COVID pandemic has told us business-as-usual is over.

Everything has changed. We’re hoping Mr Barnett takes this opportunity to reflect on how he might make a more positive contribution as forests Minister.

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