Government denies dereliction of duty

The State Government has angrily denied claims it’s been derelict in its duty to provide a fair go for workers in the Brigalow Belt.
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A spokesman for environment minister Bob Debus, has slammed suggestions the Government had been slow to provide compensation funding and jobs promised to Brigalow timber millers.

“Our forest structural readjustment unit have been talking with Barradine Narrabri and Gwabegar mill owners in recent weeks offering alternative employment, and this has been going well,” the spokesman said.

“We have already been able to supply training for 13 former mill workers, and are continuing to work through the details to ensure they are paid compensation in full.”

Claims gas and other mineral exploration industries would be locked out of potentially lucrative deposits were also disputed by the spokesman.

“We are more than confident, through our continued consultation with the gas industry, they will have long-term security in their access to any deposits,” he said.

“We are also working to ensure Aboriginal groups, who have interests in the forest, will still be able to access areas of cultural significance and are provided with ongoing employment.”

The denials followed comments made in The Leader by Gunnedah mayor Gae Swain after a recent meeting between herself and other local government leaders on the issue.

Cr Swain accused the Government of showing a reluctance to deliver on promises made to Brigalow workers.

“We simply reject those statements,” the spokesman said.

“If you believe some of the things that are being said at the moment, you will believe the sky is falling in.”

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