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FT Letter of Comfort

Kim Booth

Kim Booth  -  Thursday, 11 September 2014

Tags: Treasury

The Treasurer is under pressure to release the Letter of Comfort he has provided Forestry Tasmania, after the Greens revealed that the previous Treasurer did make publicly available relevant documentation including the 2011 Letter of Comfort correspondence.

“There is no good reason for the Treasurer, Peter Gutwein, to keep secret the letter of comfort he has extended to Forestry Tasmania, given that previous letter of comfort documentation to Forestry Tasmania and TasCorp have been made public in the past,” Greens Leader and Treasury spokesperson Kim Booth MP said.

“In May 2011 the then-Treasurer’s correspondence to both the Chair of Forestry Tasmania, and the Chair of the Tasmanian Public Finance Corporation, detailing the extension of Forestry’s letter of comfort until the 31st of December 2011 was released, and a subsequent extension was also made public.”

“Why is it that the latest terms and arrangements under the Liberal government’s most recent Forestry letter of comfort have to remain secret?”

“Previously the community were provided the terms and conditions, including any limitation on existing borrowings, contained in Forestry’s letter of comfort documentation. It is extraordinary that this government, which asserts that it has put an end to public subsidies to Forestry Tasmania, will no longer continue the established practice of disclosure and transparency.”

“A letter of comfort allowing Forestry Tasmania to take financial risks to the public purse is a subsidy, and Mr Gutwein should release the details of the latest arrangement promptly,” Mr Booth said.