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Draft MoU with the Aboriginal community

DATE 01/03/2012

Forestry Tasmania has confirmed that it has been in discussions with the Aboriginal community about their interest in forest reserves and ownership of tourism assets, but says a draft Memorandum of Understanding cannot proceed to agreement without the support of the Australian and Tasmanian governments.

The discussions between FT, the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre have been ongoing since the TAC wrote in December seeking the opportunity to discuss the Aboriginal community's desire to establish an economic base for its people.

FT believes the proposals contained in the draft MoU have considerable merit and deserve to be fully explored, but as the MoU says, the agreement of the Tasmanian and Australian governments is critical.

FT has a strong record of working with Aboriginal communities, particularly in the Northern Territory and Queensland, and throughout these discussions, has found the Tasmanian Aboriginal representatives to be thoughtful and above all, reasonable in their expectations.

Forestry Tasmania has also rejected claims the draft MoU was an attempt to undermine the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement.

It is in fact an acknowledgement that Forestry Tasmania expects that there will be further reserves. The TFIA is silent on the question of who would manage those additional reserves, and there is nothing in the draft MoU that contradicts any element of the TFIA.

Forestry Tasmania has a clear conscience about its involvement in these discussions.

It would have been disrespectful to the Aboriginal community, if FT had refused to engage in discussions with its representatives. FT has kept the Tasmanian Government informed, has respected the TFIA process and has respected the aspirations of the Aboriginal community.

Given the level of goodwill that has developed between FIAT, the TAC and FT, it would be disappointing if at least elements of the package were not fully considered.

FT’s door remains open.

Download - Draft Memorandum of Understanding (PDF)