The Chair of a Parliamentary Inquiry into agribusiness managed investments schemes, Bernie Rippoll, will be in Kyogle on Tuesday, July 7, to hear local views on many aspects of these schemes.

The Member for Page, Janelle Saffin, said she invited Mr Rippoll to come to Page, given the large number of managed investment scheme plantations in our area, and local interest in the issue.

“Mr Rippoll is Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, which has set up the inquiry into agribusiness managed investment schemes following the collapse of two major forest plantation companies, Timbercorp and Great Southern,” she said.

“This is an issue that is frequently raised with me across the electorate, particularly in Kyogle, Woodenbong, Bonalbo and the Clarence Valley where there are a number of timber plantations.

“The views expressed to me from farmers, environmentalists, community organisations and local residents range from getting rid of the MIS, getting rid of the tax breaks, making the schemes work better, and in relation to forestry, bringing them back to their original intention of encouraging landholders to plant more trees.

“While some people have told me they support the schemes, others have complained about the impact on communities when corporations pay inflated prices for land, farming families sell up and leave and the plantations are managed by organisations that don’t engage with the local community or hire local people.

“I’ve been researching this issue for some time, so when the inquiry was announced I went to see Mr Rippoll to raise the local community’s concerns and that’s when he agreed to come to Page for a meeting.

“The Committee’s Inquiry is looking into many aspects of agribusiness MIS including scheme structures, performance, the impact of taxation treatment, and the need for any legislative or regulatory change.

“I have invited those people and organisations who’ve been in contact with me over this issue to the meeting with Mr Rippoll to hear more about the inquiry and put forward their concerns and suggestions.

“I want to thank Kyogle Mayor Ross Brown for hosting the meeting at the Kyogle Council Chambers next Tuesday.”