14 Aug 2003

Forestry industry in PNG fears job losses with mill closures

4:22 pm on 14 August 2003

The Forestry Industry Association in Papua New Guinea has warned of job losses in remote communities if a push backed by the World Bank succeeds in closing timber mills.

The Bank has challenged aspects of the industry but the FIA's executive officer, Bob Tate, says timber mill closures will affect the jobs of more than 2,000 people.

Mr Tate says the timber industry, rather than the government, is the social backbone in rural areas.

"In areas where many timber companies operate, they become in effect the de-facto department of health, education, civil aviation, transport, everything."

Mr Tate says it appears the World Bank wants to close down the commercial timber industry in PNG at the expense of people's livelihoods.