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Today, Wed, Nov 23, Catamaran.

The Tasmanian Greens said revelations that the logging company Artec has been unable to pay its bills after its customers cancelled woodchip shipments highlights the pointless and ongoing waste of public money on the native forest woodchip industry.

Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that the Forestry Minister Bryan Green today confirmed that logs from within the 430,000 hectares slated for protection under the Forests Intergovernmental Agreement and shipped to Bell Bay at taxpayers’ expense, have been chipped and now lie rotting in piles after customers cancelled orders.

“The Minister now needs to now accept that the native forest woodchip industry is dead and buried under a pile of rotting woodchips on the Bell Bay wharf,” Mr Booth said.

“This debacle is new proof that the Minister’s whole story about needing to spend $1.1 million of public money to fulfil woodchip export contracts was a farce.”

“The industry is now so unviable that that even when the timber is free, no one wants to buy it for the cost of getting it to the wharf.”

“The Minister must be held to account for his decision to spend taxpayers’ money on transporting logs from the south of the state to the north for a woodchip company without a buyer,” Mr Booth said.

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• Jenny Webber, Huon Valley Environment Centre:


Logging continues in moratorium area while woodchips have no destination


Conservationists are this morning conducting a protest in a logging area in the far south of Tasmania, where world heritage value forests are being clearfelled.


‘Tasmania’s world heritage value forests continue to be logged despite yesterday’s controversial announcement that woodchips shipments have been postponed by Tasmania’s only export woodchipping company, Artec,’ Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber said.


‘Ta Ann is driving logging in contentious forests, and woodchip logs are leaving these same forests regardless of a viable market for the timber. The Tasmanian taxpayers are subsidising a logging industry that is economically unviable and environmentally unsustainable,’ Jenny Weber said.


‘This morning at Catamaran, in threatened forest behind Recherche Bay, a conservationist is in a tree sit, and thirteen people are halting logging.  Huon Valley Environment Centre is repeating it’s calls for the immediate end to logging in this forest that borders the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, (TWWHA),’ Jenny Weber said.


Logging in this area, identified by Forestry Tasmania as CM004C, commenced after the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Premier Lara Giddings announced the Inter-governmental Agreement in August 2011 would provide ‘immediate protection in informal reserves’ for forests such as these.  CM004C is located within the 572 000ha of identified forests for legislated protection.


Last week conservationists participated in a protest in the coupe, and it was revealed that the area is being clearfelled for Ta Ann, export peeler logs and woodchip logs.

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First published: 2011-11-22 10:02 AM

• SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK
Senator for Tasmania
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry and Science

Time for forest industries to fight back

Australia’s forest industries are under siege from government mismanagement as well as devious anti-native timber campaigns, Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck told Federal Parliament today.

“Australia’s forest industries are unfairly under threat right now, partly from saboteur groups like Get-Up and Markets for Change but also from Labor-Greens governments that are continually mismanaging critical issues, like the Tasmanian forestry Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA),” Senator Colbeck said.

“The IGA process has become a farce, with the latest twist being a Federal Forestry Minister trying to withhold information because he doesn’t like the result of the independent advice that was sought.
“The forest industries are sick of the unhelpful government meddling, and they are sick of the continuous ill-informed anti-forestry campaigns - especially those unfairly targeting native forestry activities.

“Forest scientists tell us that native forest management regimes over long-term rotations are better than plantation-based regimes for the types of timber that we want for fine furniture, craft wood and boat building industries.

“Forest scientists tell us that native forest is better for diversity, better for water quality and better for timber quality. It is also better for the landscape values desired both by our local communities and our tourism industries.

“There are thousands of forestry workers and supporter across Australia and it is time their voice was heard in Canberra again.

“I have just launched an online petition for this very purpose. In a matter of days nearly 500 people have added their name.

“It is time for the forestry industry to fight back, to protect its reputation and stand up for its future,” Senator Colbeck said.

Link to Senator Colbeck’s petition - http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/supporting_australian_forest_industries/

Download: Hansard (unproofed) of Senator Colbeck’s speech to the Senate today:
231111_Time_for_forest_industries_to_fight_back.pdf

• TAXPAYERS SUBSIDISING CUT PRICE LOGS FOR TA ANN
As 1000’s of Tonnes of Rejected Logs Are Left to Rot

Kim Booth MP
Greens Forestry Spokesperson

The Tasmanian Greens today called on the Minister for Forests Bryan Green MP to explain why Forestry Tasmania cut the price Ta Ann pays for peeler logs at the same time as it increased the export price.

Greens Forestry spokesman Kim Booth MP said the figures, published in the 2011 Forestry Tasmania publication, Sustainable Forest Management, look like yet another concession to a failing timber operator.

“The Minister must detail why Forestry Tasmania has decided to drop the price for peeler logs on the domestic market,” Mr Booth said.

“The price per cubic metre for domestic peeler logs was cut by $10 to $60 dollars, at the same time as the price on export market went up by $2 to $85.”

“The price for pulpwood also fell by $10 to $52, which appears to indicate that the price to Ta Ann for peeler logs is locked to the pulp wood price.”

“The Greens want to know if there is a floor price on this contract, or will Forestry Tasmania just keep on cutting the price of peeler logs, losing more and more public money in the process.”

“It’s also apparent that Ta Ann has been rejecting a large proportion of the peeler logs being carted to its mill, logs which they are not required to pay for.”

“There is now reportedly around 100,000 tonnes of waste timber lying around on the site, meaning that there is no way that the Ta Ann contract can still be financially viable.”

“It is just not possible to grow, cut down, load and cart to the mill peeler logs for $60 per cubic metre, especially when a large proportion of logs are simply being discarded once they arrive at the mill.”

“The Minister must rule out continuing to prop up this financially unviable operation,” Mr Booth said.

• SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK
Senator for Tasmania
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry and Science
M E D I A R E L E A S E
24 November 2011
     
Labor forestry policy mess:
Dick Adams and Geoff Lyons have serious explaining to do

Tasmanian Labor MPs have been caught out making forestry policy recommendations which are contrary to the actions of their own Government.

Lyons MP Dick Adams and Bass MP Geoff Lyons need to explain the recommendations they backed in the parliamentary report Seeing the forest through the trees which was tabled in the House of Representatives this week.

“It is absolutely clear now that when it comes to forestry policy, the Government is in a complete shambles. Labor is ignoring its own members in order to keep sweet with Bob Brown and the Greens, and cling to power.

“For their part, Dick Adams and Geoff Lyons need to explain to Tasmanian forestry businesses and workers how they can call for a growing forestry industry when at the same time they are endorsing Government’s participation in a process that is shrinking the industry in Tasmania.

“Dick Adam and Geoff Lyons should also explain why they are happy to hand over the assessment of Tasmania’s forests to the Greens and the Wilderness Society, yet they recommend against using that process in other States.

“It is also incredulous that Adams and Lyons, in the report, have recommended use of native forest residues for biomass-based generation of energy but only weeks ago voted with their Greens-Labor Government to prohibit that very activity.

“Can Dick Adams and Geoff Lyons also explain why their leader Julia Gillard ignores the Labor MPs and their Labor colleagues and instead just implements Greens policy at the direction of Bob Brown?

“Just like the Carbon Tax this Government was never going to introduce, we again have a situation where the Prime Minister made a solemn promise – to secure forestry jobs and ensure a sustainable industry future - only to back flip the instant that her Greens masters beckoned.