Image for Do the Liberals Really Want to Destroy the Logging Industry ... ?

First published July 27

Log, log, log!  This is the monotonous mantra of the state’s Liberals at the moment. But deep within in the inner sanctum of the party there is probably a realistic acknowledgement that an uncertified native forest logging industry in Tasmania is a premorbid dead duck. Yet in an effort to cover for FT/STT’s $100 million annual loss, the Liberals are desperate to point the finger elsewhere for the industry’s demise.

Hailing the TFA as the cause of the native forestry export decline, the Libs constantly attempt to shift the blame on to Labor and their alliance with the Greens and conservationists.

The declining demand for native forest woodchips from international buyers goes back to near the turn of the century when ethical markets and stewardship of primeval forests began formulating across the globe.

FT was warned of this by the Japanese woodchip importers more than 15 years ago, but FT was adamant its products would continue to be in demand, and at give-away prices - that was probably its premise of business vision.

Around the late 1990s Gunns’ pillage and plundering of our native forests began its decline due to weakening market demand for uncertified timber sources. At that time the Lennon government was looking for other markets to continue raping the state’s native forests.

Enter Ta Ann. This Malaysian deal has to be considered as one of the most questionable and thoughtless business contracts a Tasmanian government has ever entered into.

The abandonment of Triabunna chip mill, and bankruptcy of Gunns should have sent the native forest woodchipping industry to the wall, but old habits die hard, and the obsessed Liberal government and FT’s rigid doctrine lingered on at a massive cost to the taxpayer.

Without looking beyond the present, what else could the Liberals do but prop up the ongoing woodchip industry as a means of supplying the sawlog and peeler industry?

The economics have never stacked up, as the average logging coupe resource extraction has been estimated to be 94% woodchip or pulp.

FT needed a use for this 94% residue to justify its existence, and only massive taxpayers subsidies could provide that!

The man in charge ... Guy Barnett from his website ...

Virtually all high-volume global markets these days insist on an FSC product. The Tasmanian government wasted $millions in its application to obtain certification for our native forests whilst concurrently refusing to change FT’s stone-age logging practices and address habitat retention for endangered species.

Since the Liberals were elected, every move to reopen native forest areas for logging has sent negative messages to the world, including international forest importers, industry marketing and retailers.

As a result, Tasmania’s native forest timber products are now questionable, and its market supply highly uncertain.

What a dubious forestry business charter the Liberals claim to purport.

So maybe the Liberals do want to see the demise of the native forestry industry in Tasmania?

The Tasmanian Liberals’ decision to place its most incompetent minister - Guy Barnett - to lead the charge seems to be consistent with that probable intent!

The Liberals desperate ‘log it all costs’ ideology is currently stifling future investments into the state’s native forests far greater than any anti-forestry activism could possibly achieve.

So where does this leave conservationists?

Given the blinded Liberal attitude, conservationists who see the demise of the state’s forestry industry as their priority issue in Tasmania, are probably seriously considering a vote for the Hodgman government at the next election.

Ted Mead had long ago given up on believing that the state government could ever make a go of a financially profitable business - Forestry or seemingly any other GBE. Ted is convinced that Tasmania through its dishonourable political representation has been operating like a third-world country for the last half-century through subsidising and flogging off the state’s natural resources for a pittance return to the community. Ted believes that native forest logging, particularly HCV areas in Tasmania, will be almost non-existent in another decade, and probably less - if the Liberals remain in power.

Mongabay: Mothers vs. loggers: the destruction of Białowieża Forest splits Poland … Today, primeval forests no longer stretch across the European continent, casting comforting shadows that hold the promise of food, shelter, fuel, and fresh, clean air. The few remaining are holed up, fenced in, driven back to small pockets of land. Here, they make a final stand. The same notion of human progress they made possible is now slashing and burning them out of existence. If these forests are destroyed, their memories and vast wealth of biodiversity and ecosystem benefits will vanish forever. “The Białowieża Forest is the last European island of primevality, it is our great heritage and responsibility,” said Kowalczyk. “We have to protect it.”

• Robert Middleton, USA, in Comments: Another outstanding post, Ted. It provides valuable perspective, especially for those closely watching from the rest of the world, who view The War Against the Trees by a Godzilla-like monster, recently renamed STT, as incomprehensible in a civilized society. The new name is a joke. Godzilla by any other name is still the same old foul, devilish, demented and depraved terrorist that remarkably remains the house-pet of an unsophisticated tribe of greedy, selfish and cowardly politicians.

Wilderness Society: Hodgman Government hails cost-shifting accounting and impending Forestry subsidy as defining achievement The Hodgman Government continues to be out of touch with the reality of structural challenges facing the logging industry, celebrating a projected improvement to the state-owned logging agency’s bottom line, conveniently ignoring the fact that this is due to taxpayers absorbing millions of dollars of recurring costs …

Guy Barnett: Improving Bottom-Line for Sustainable Timber Tasmania

Cassy O’Connor: Liberals’ Orwellian Forestry Tasmania Restructure Continues Subsidies The Liberals’ restructure of Forestry Tasmania has simply forced the GBE to sell its only potential profit making assets - the plantations - and moved the subsidies around to conceal the true extent of ongoing public funding for this industry. The Liberals haven’t ‘ended the subsidies’. They’ve increased funding to FT by $8 million per annum according to the Budget papers, and internalized and hidden the true costs of production, with tens of millions in subsidies locked in to existing forestry contracts over the next decade …

Guy Barnett: Celebrating Planet Ark’s Tree Days

John Hawkins in Comments HERE: Barnett: Have you sold the plantations or as good as gifted them to a Crony at Mates Rates? Having offloaded the pension liability of FT onto the Tasmanian taxpayer how much in public money will FT chew up in this financial year? Are we still susidising log truck delivery around the State? Are we still selling Peeler billets to Ta Ann at a loss? Answers please ... it is your Press Release?