A parliamentary committee has heard the level of debt owed to Forestry Tasmania is growing and now exceeds $40 million.
Forestry Tasmania’s chief executive Bob Gordon is giving evidence to a Legislative Council inquiry into Forestry Tasmania’s financial position.
Mr Gordon says Forestry is trying to recoup $40 million in unpaid debts.
He refused to name the companies owing money, saying it would be inappropriate because some are publicly listed.
Since the last financial report, the length of time taken to retrieve those debts has extended from 85 to 89 days.
Mr Gordon says up to a third are current debts.
He says the state-owned company has worked hard to cut costs, including reducing staff from 530 to 350 since January 2007.
Many of the employees were in the company’s Mersey District which was axed, but staff have also been cut from head office and other areas.
TFGA and private foresters warn Leg Cl of lock-up consequences
Dated: 18th April 2011
Tasmanian farmers and private forest growers today warned against complacency that the private forest state in Tasmania was viable without continued management of native forests on public land.
In her submission to the Legislative Council Inquiry into Public Native Forests Transition today, Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association chief executive Jan Davis said the two forests sectors were inter-dependent.
“The solution is to recognise that the private forest estate does not have the capacity to replace the production from state-owned forests from a volume, product mix or product quality perspective,” she told the inquiry.
“The continuation of a viable, private native forest estate may be dependent, at least partially, on a continuation of active management of state-owned native forests where there is a question of critical mass,” she said.
Privately owned native forest totals 885,000ha or 26 per cent of Tasmania’s total forest cover.
“Private forests owners have been locked into the commercial management of their native forests with severe restrictions on their capacity to convert these forests to plantations.
“Any reduction in their capacity to commercially manage these forests could expose government to considerable claims for compensation.
“If we destroy or impair the commercial value of our native forest estate all the benefits we have derived in the past will be lost and, importantly, significant additional benefits that will accrue from new and emerging industries will never be realised.”
Ms Davis said there was a need to update the forest industry operating model.
“The old model was out of date and needs updating and rejuvenating but that this must be done without destroying the opportunities that the sustainable, commercial management of our native forest estate can continue to realise for Tasmania,” she said.
Download TFGA submission: LegCo_Forestry_Inquiry_180411-4.doc
Dave Groves: HERE