23/03/2004 - 21:00

Jensen backs industry boy-out plan for Sotico

23/03/2004 - 21:00

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Jensen backs industry boy-out plan for Sotico

WESTERN Australian furniture manufacturers have turned up the heat on the Federal Government as they try to revive plans to buy Sotico’s timber assets.

Jensen Jarrah owner Max Jensen said Western Australia could be a world leader in balancing its forest conservation and employment objectives.

“However, a key plank to achieving the correct balance is for furniture manufacturers to have an ownership interest in their resource supply, or at the very least, a much stronger security of supply,” he said.

“The [furniture industry] consortium’s proposed industry and management buy-out of Sotico was and still is the best option around.

“We had our funding sorted out. We just could not agree on price.

“The State Government helped out. [Sotico owner] Wesfarmers helped. The banks were supportive, but where was the Federal Government when we needed them?”

The Federal Government has refused to provide funding assistance because it believes the timber harvest set by the State Government is inadequate.

“We have a viable log cut,” Mr Jensen said. 

“The industry here accepts it.

“Why can [Federal Industry Minister] Senator McDonald not accept it?”

Meanwhile, the Shire of Manjimup said it was alarmed at the possibility of Sotico’s assets being sold to more than one buyer, an idea floated by State Agriculture Minister Kim Chance in an interview with WA Business News.

Shire President Peter McKenzie said the supply of jarrah to the Manjimup processing centre would be threatened by any break up of Sotico and would end any hope the Government has of establishing a Jarrah based furniture industry.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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