I have recently discovered that the special timber industry in Tasmania (including the blackwood industry) is in serious trouble. Under the current circumstances any efforts to develop a commercial, farm-based blackwood industry, including a growers cooperative, are impossible because:
- Since 2010 Forestry Tasmania have deliberately run their special timbers business activities at a loss (non-profit, non-commercial), specifically those State forests dedicated to the production of special timbers;
- In addition all management costs for these production forests are now charged by Forestry Tasmania directly to the Tasmanian taxpayer. This amounts to a massive 50%+ or >$5.1 million direct taxpayer subsidy to special timbers industry over the past 3 years;
- These changes combined with the existing draconian sawlog sales and pricing practices create a business model that would be the envy of the Australian car industry.
Read my article here for more details.
Given that Forestry Tasmania is the major special timbers producer, and that blackwood comprises at least 80% of special timbers production, this amounts to the commercial sabotage of existing and potential private blackwood growers. Under these circumstances there is absolutely no way that Tasmanian farmers can compete in the blackwood market. The blackwood market is now effectively closed to competition.
As I said in the Tasmanian Times article the special timbers industry must seek a win-win-win resolution to this problem – a win for the future of the iconic special timbers industry, a win for the Tasmanian community and a win for Tasmanian farmers.
If you support the future of a profitable and sustainable blackwood industry please contact Forestry Tasmania and your local State members of parliament (as FT shareholders) and ask that Forestry Tasmania manage all of its special timbers activities on a profitable, fully-commercial, transparent and sustainable basis. No more subsidies, no more compromising farmers commercial interests.
PS. I will be posting another blog here in a few days with further details of why the special timber industry is in serious trouble. Stay tuned!
PPS. 2010 turned out to be quite a year – 1) the year I completed my PhD in blackwood genetics and wood quality that reaffirmed the potential of blackwood as a profitable commercial timber species, 2) the year FT gave me the flick as an employee, and 3) the year FT abandoned the blackwood industry and decided it was a charity deserving of a 50%+ taxpayer subsidy.