Weekly Times Opinion
THE Federal Government has forgone more than $6 billion in tax revenue to prop up managed investment schemes that are failing to deliver. MIS was the tool the former Coalition Government launched in 1997 to treble the nation’s “plantation estate” to offset a massive trade deficit in wood and paper products. Vast tracts of land were planted to blue gums. But the Government failed to audit these projects or ensure they were backed by decent business plans. Plans to develop pulp mills at Dartmoor, Penola and Tamar remained on the drawing board and wood chip yields fell well below expectations. There was a failure by MIS supporters, such as former Forestry Minister Wilson Tuckey, to recognise they were creating a subsidised product that could not survive on its own. MIS projects were not driven by demand for wood chips but the greed of high income earners who would rather gamble their taxes in the MIS sector than pour it into the public purse. The Australian Taxation Office simply ticked off on product rulings that allowed Timbercorp and Great Southern to charge establishment fees of $9000/ha. Yet long-established timber companies quoted the cost at $1700 to $3000/ha. Read more here
MIS in crisis
Great Southern posts loss, sells asset
Great Southern announces $33.8m loss
John Lawrence on Tasmanian Times predicted this months ago:
Race to the bottom