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Source: Tony Pasin Office
Federal Member for Barker, Tony Pasin has today called for the South Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Hon. Leon Bignell MP to resign.
Mr Pasin called on Minister Bignell to resign in a statement to the House of Representatives this afternoon in light of the announcement that sixty jobs would be cut from Forestry SA.
“In truth Minister Bignell has now shown himself to be the South Australian Minister for no agriculture, no fisheries and no forestry.” Mr Pasin said
Mr Pasin went on to say “Minister Bignell deserves a gold medal for his political spin today. The people of the South East will rightly be disgusted with these job losses after campaigning so hard to protect their forestry sector from the damaging effects of the forward sale.”
“In light of this announcement and his actions more generally since becoming Minister that are hurting the Agricultural and Fishing Industries in South Australia I have called for Minister Bignell to resign and to do it today”. Mr Pasin said.
“South Australians engaged in the agricultural, fishing and forestry industries deserve a Minister committed to them, not one who is acting daily to undermine their efforts” Mr Pasin said.
Mr Pasin’s statement came after Minister Bignells announcement of job cuts in the following press release this afternoon saying there would be no forced redundancies in ForestrySA restructure
Voluntary separation packages will be offered to up to 60 ForestrySA employees in the South East and Mount Lofty Ranges.
No staff changes are planned for ForestrySA’s Mid North operations.
Forests Minister Leon Bignell said the State Government had kept its promise to ForestrySA workers that there would be no forced redundancies.
“The proposal offered to ForestrySA workers is fairer and more equitable by allowing staff who wish to leave and take advantage of the best available redundancy conditions,” he said.
“While ForestrySA is reducing its direct workforce, the timber industry is experiencing one of its brightest periods in years, and there are many jobs being offered in the local area.
“There is now a strong base of private contractors in the South East who perform a variety of these forest management functions for a range of plantation owners including ForestrySA.
“The State Government is also providing up to $27 million in assistance to the private sector for capital investment in the state’s timber industry. This money for innovation will help secure and create jobs in the South East, as well as increase the opportunity for us to be able to value-add here.
“It is much better for our State’s economy and jobs to have finished products made here for the local and export markets rather than sending logs overseas only to come back as imported timber goods,” said Minister Bignell.
The forward sale of ForestrySA’s plantations in the Green Triangle to OneFortyOne Plantations Pty Ltd was completed in October 2012. The five-year Plantation Management Agreement with the company ends in October 2017.
Minister Bignell said this offer is aimed at reducing staff in the fairest possible way and the terms being offered are very generous by industry standards.
“By doing this now, before the end of June, those who take it up will receive double the compensation than if this went through after July 1.”
ForestrySA Chief Executive Adrian Hatch said the organisation needed to become a much more competitive service provider in order to maintain the contract after 2017.
Source: Minister Bignell Office.