I must remonstrate with the CEO of the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Assocation, Jan Davis, over not unrelated issues. This letter to the editor of Tasmanian Country follows publication of her recent column:
I write regarding the column “Answers sought on Private Forests” by Jan Davis of the TFGA in the 2 Dec 2011 issue of your newspaper.
I am a Grazier with some 1200 acres of high rainfall land in the Chudleigh Valley arguably one of the most beautiful places in Tasmania. I have lived here for over eight years and have a considered experience of landscape and forestry practice both here and the UK.
Davis shows little knowledge or understanding of the Third World practices of clear fell and burn for woodchips as carried out in the name of Forestry in Tasmania.
Tasmania is a State in which this so called type of Forestry is assisted and promoted by a lack of any form of Landscape Legislation, an exemption from all Heritage Legislation and the use of a GBE Private Forests Tasmania to facilitate the placing of all timber on private land, for a fee, into Private Timber Reserves a move that takes the land and timber outside all or any Planning Scheme.
I own the only Listed Landscape in Tasmania other than that at Government House in Hobart.This Listing serves no purpose as the mountains and hills that surround me cannot for all or some of the reasons above be Listed or Protected; hence they are clear felled and burnt to the snowline at 800m.
When a Chudleigh landscape protection plan was drawn up by the officers of the so called “Independent” Heritage Council the then Department Head ordered it to be “buried without trace”as it would set a precedent that would not be helpful to the industry.
The all powerful logging industry now on its knees is unlikely to arise due to the now International recognition of the FSC standard in paper packaging and the current denial of its existence by the two major island players, Forestry Tasmania and Gunns Ltd.
If you go into a Supermarket in Japan or the UK you will find all the food packaged in FSC compliant paper wrapping, if it is not, the consumer will not buy the contents. Davis gives credit for this to the Tasmanian ENGO’s;, this is rubbish, much as they would like the credit it is the international consumer and competition between manufacturers that has forced international food companies such as Nestle and Kraft to package their goods in this way thereby to gain both access to and sales from the supermarket shelves.
Harvey Norman is merely a local sideshow when compared with the worldwide power of the consumer of wood and paper products on the international market.
The impossibility of gaining FSC accreditation for Native Forest logging or plantations on cleared native forest land has cost Gunns its international woodchip business .The Gunns take or pay contracts No’s 917and 918 surrendered by Gunns and contested by FT cost the Taxpayer, probably illegally, 11.5 million dollars in compensation paid to FT from the IGA.
Tasmanian wood chippers using the Australian Forest Standard, a fabrication invented within Australia by local logging companies, have learnt to their cost that the AFS has no currency offshore.
Failure to recognise this has now brought the industry to its Knees and Private land owners with all the local exemptions over landscape, heritage and planning as listed above would I suggest be better informed if they listened to the markets operating in the real world outside these shores rather than the likes of Davis and the TFGA.
As for myself I have nothing against selective logging for Tasmanian hardwoods. This highly skilled craft kept country saw millers in business for over 100 years until the arrival of the Spiv and fast buck wood chipper whose now departure, bankruptcy and appearance before the Courts is I suggest lamented only by the few.