media release

Bignell needs to make a categorical statement

Minister for Forests Leon Bignell needs to confirm today that there will be no job losses at Forestry SA.

Yesterday on ABC 891 Minister Bignell said he would upholding all commitments that were provided by the Weatherill Government regarding the privatisation of Forestry SA but refused to guarantee there would be no job losses.

Premier Weatherill and former Treasurer Snelling were categorical in their guarantees regarding the protection of jobs at Forestry SA.

When questioned in December 2011 about the conditions imposed on the sale of forestry assets, Premier Weatherill told the ABC:

"There are serious conditions we’re putting on the sale to make sure that there is long term certainty for local processors here and also the people that work directly for Forestry SA." (639ABC, 08/12/2011)

Four months later, when announcing the conditions, then Treasurer Jack Snelling emphasised that people in the region should feel safe about their employment. Mr Snelling said:

"The people of the South-East can feel secure that jobs are now protected and their futures in the forestry industry will continue to thrive." (Press Release, 23/03/2012)

"There are no ifs or buts about these statements and Minister Bignell needs to clear the air regarding his ambiguous commitment on job losses," said Shadow Minister for Forests David Ridgway.

"If Minister Bignell refuses to confirm that he will be honouring the commitments made by Premier Weatherill and former Minister Snelling then Regional Development Minister Geoff Brock should be requesting public confirmation of the Labor Government’s intention.

"Minister Bignell statement that he’ll provide an update on the matter in a couple of weeks is unacceptable.

"Is he going to enforce the commitments made by his colleagues or is he going to sack 100 Forestry SA employees?

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