The Hodgman regime’s latest splash with public cash to prop up the native forest sawmilling industry is stupid and irresponsible, Greens Leader and Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today.
“This is as close as you can get to a corrupt government process,” Mr Booth said.
“On the one hand public money was paid to sawmillers to leave the industry because they were going broke and now the same people are receiving additional public money to stay in the industry.”
“Sawmillers took payouts because they were financially unviable businesses in the first place.”
“Now in an act of total stupidity, Minister Harriss is offering people two options, without there being any requirement to prove that a viable business plan is in place.”
“The first option is for a sawmiller to pay back 10 per cent or less of a payout, keep the mill but be restricted to 100 cubic metres per year.”
“That is a joke, its less volume necessary to run a viable portable mill, let alone a sawmill.”
“The second option allows a sawmiller paid an exit grant to keep half of the money offered and just stay in the industry.”
“This is a breathtaking example of irrational market interference by government where unviable operators are paid to stay in the market and compete against the few remaining viable ones.”
“This is a slap in the face for those sawmillers who were financially viable and chose to stand on their own feet, now to find that their competitors are getting free public cash to compete with them.”
“Market interference by governments providing public resources at less than cost and public cash for financially unviable operations has driven the industry into ruin. There will never be a financially viable sawmilling industry until people like Minister Harriss get out of the way, stop interfering with the market and stop wasting public money,” Mr Booth said.