Paul Omodei

Paul Omodei


    Opposition wrong on Budget claim about forest industry funds: Minister

    10/05/2000 6:43 PM

    Opposition Leader Geoff Gallop had made an ass of himself and deserved all the embarrassment that came his way over his claim that the Commonwealth Government was not providing the promised funds for the WA Forest Industry Structural Adjustment Package (FISAP), Forest Products Minister Paul Omodei said today.

    “Mr Gallop has shown conclusively that he does not understand the Federal budget process,” Mr Omodei said.

    “But worse still he has shown once again that he is prepared to generate fear in South-West communities without bothering to check his facts.

    “It is a Labor Party speciality to try to gain electorate support through fear and falsehood.

    “This sort of statement by the Opposition leader demonstrates yet again that the Labor Party has not learnt the lessons of its dishonest past and has not mended its ways.”

    Mr Omodei said Mr Gallop claimed that only $4 million of the $15 million promised for the WA FISAP program was contained in last night’s Federal Budget.

    The truth was that the $15 million was part of $100 million for FISAP nationwide originally appropriated by the Keating Government in 1995-96 and confirmed by the Howard Government in its first budget in 1996-97.

    When the Western Australian RFA was signed in May 1999, the State was allocated $15 million for FISAP and another
    $5 million for tourism projects.

    The money would be made available as the various conditions associated with the RFA were met and circumstances in the industry warranted.

    The RFA-related adjustments to the timber industry would occur over a period of time, not instantaneously, and the money would be wisely spent over that time.

    It would help the State Government to implement its new forest products strategy to get more value and more employment from a smaller volume of native hardwoods.

    “Apart from not knowing what he is talking about, I suspect that Mr Gallop was also motivated by a desire to hide the fact that Labor’s forest policy would throw nearly 1500 South-West people out of work overnight, with no resources to help sustain their families and communities,” Mr Omodei said.

    Media contact Hugh Ryan 9213 6700