THE Tasmanian Government was warned yesterday it could miss out on millions if a forest deal could not be struck soon.
But two key negotiators in the peace process, Forest Industry Association chief Terry Edwards and Markets for Change spokeswoman Peg Putt, said they were not prepared to budge yesterday.
The State Government was warned yesterday it could miss out on the millions to fund the jobs bonanza if a forest deal could not be struck soon.
Tasmania's jobless rate yesterday hit a nine-year high of 7.2 per cent the worst in the nation with more than 16,000 people out of work.
The State Government's initial deadline expires today.
Regional Development Minister Simon Crean said development funds would dry up if a deal wasn't reached soon.
"The $20 million package will produce over 4000 jobs in Tasmania," he said.
"Imagine what we can do with the other $100 million but for the $100 million we need a conclusion on the IGA."
The Gillard Government has poured money into job-creating regional projects in tourism, agriculture and aquaculture with funding to support:
- MORE than 2300 new dairy jobs in the Smithton area.
- 800 new aquaculture jobs through investment in the Huon region.
- 1000 new jobs through expanded cool-climate wine production.
- 170 jobs through investment in berry production in the Derwent Valley.
- THE development of a cutting-edge statewide agricultural sensor network.
- UPGRADES to the Maria Island jetty and feasibility studies on boosting tourism.
- THE expansion of the Scottsdale Defence Science and Technology facility to grow demand for food production.
Mr Crean and negotiator Bill Kelty yesterday held talks with Upper House members to convince them of the benefits for the state of the IGA proceeding.
But Forest Industry Association chief Terry Edwards said he would not budge on demands that green groups' overseas campaigns cease before he returns to talks.
"I've heard there is a meeting next week. I won't be there. There's been no change," he said. "What the Markets for Change is putting at risk is $750 million a year every year and 5000 jobs.
"It's regrettable if Tasmania does miss out, but we will lose far more if we surrender to Markets to Change."
Ms Putt said the group's conditional offer of an overseas protest ceasefire still stood.
"All I can say is that our offer remains on the table and remains unchanged," she said.
Deputy Premier Bryan Green urged Mr Edwards to return to talks for the good of the state.
"We do have around the table some of the biggest environmental groups like Environment Tasmania, the Wilderness Society and the Australian Conservation Foundation who have shown a willingness to work towards a negotiated outcome."
And he emphasised: "Without an agreement, we will see continued division, continued uncertainty for the forest industry and no new reserves."
Wilderness Society spokesman Vica Bayley said the environment groups who were signatories to the peace deal were ready to return to the negotiating table.
"All we can do as signatories is be ready and willing to get into talks and hope that Terry Edwards will do the same," he said.
"As far as I can see everyone but Terry is ready to begin these negotiations."
Liberal Forestry spokesman Peter Gutwein said the forest peace deal should be ripped up.
Read more on The Mercury.