The Tasmanian Government, through the then Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources (DIER), administered the Australian Government's $5.4 million Tasmanian Forest Contractors Financial Support Program between December 2010 and May 2011.
The purpose of the program was to provide financial assistance to Tasmanian (harvest and/or haulage) forest contractors and subcontractors operating predominantly in the native forest sector and assist them to continue their operations in the broader contracting industry on the basis of the other business having exited the sector.
53 business received grants under the program, with 94 per cent reporting that they were still in business as at April 1, 2011. 60 per cent of contractors reported that business conditions have gotten worse since the assistance had been offered, largely due to the eight week closure of the Gunns Triabunna mill in the south of the State.
Only four businesses stated that the assistance had no effect on their business, mainly as the level of funding provided was insufficient given the business activity losses they were suffering. Feedback from contractors suggested that generally the program has assisted contractors through this period of uncertainty, but the benefit was largely a short term stop-gap. Even contractors who gave low rankings to the program, still obviously found the money useful. As noted above, in many cases it appears that it has been further downturn in business from the Gunns Triabunna Mill closure that has overridden the benefits of the program.
Ultimately 89 per cent of successful contractors were satisfied with the Program, with 70 per cent feeling the Program was good to excellent. No successful applicants gave an overall rating of "bad" and only six contractors felt it was poorly managed, three of which received low amounts of assistance from the program.
Final Report to the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (PDF 429Kb)
Review of Administration of the Tasmanian Forest Contractors Financial support program (PDF 329Kb)