ALMOST 100 forest contractors will have to live with uncertainty over their future until the new year.
Nanjing Night Net

Contractors had been expecting to find out this week if their application for a share of a $45 million voluntary exit grants package, a key part of the forest peace deal, had been successful.

The federal government, which is administering the voluntary exit grants, confirmed yesterday it had been aiming to give contractors an answer before Christmas but was now aiming to finalise assessments early in January.

The Tasmanian Forest Contractors Association had stressed the importance of contractors finding out this week.

“It’s really unfair for contractors to go into Christmas not knowing their future, good or bad,” chief executive officer Ed Vincent said. “People can make plans to deal with bad news but they can’t deal with uncertainty.”

Applications closed November 24.

Mr Vincent said he had been told the delay was because three quarters of the 97 applications were incomplete.

A spokeswoman for Forestry Minister Joe Ludwig said the assessment panel met to assess applications on Monday and Tuesday this week.

“In order to complete its assessment of applications and make recommendations on the offer of grants under the program, the panel has requested further information and verification of information,” she said. “The panel is working to finalise assessment early in the new year.”

The Commonwealth department of forestry was expected to update its website with details of the revised timeline last night.

Eligible businesses could apply for up to $3 million with the grants designed to help them adjust to the industry downturn.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.