Forestry Tasmania’s challenges

Being part of the forest industry in Tasmania is tough at the best of times with all the bad media, the politics, conflict, ideology, mismanagement, etc. I usually try and keep the politics off the website; politics is mostly bad for business.

But in Tasmania forestry is politics, which is its biggest problem.

So this commentary by economist/accountant and social commentator John Lawrence has my complete support, and says what needs to be said about the mismanagement and poor governance of Forestry Tasmania. Recommended reading:

One of the major weaknesses (and there are many) of the Tas Forestry Agreement is that it continues to enshrined Forestry Tasmania as the cornerstone of the industry. And as Mr Lawrence clearly demonstrates, Forestry Tasmania is a dead, defunct, insolvent entity with no future. While it remains the cornerstone, the forest industry will continue its long, slow, painful decline.

FT SR 201213

My own response to reading the latest FT Annual Report was akin to reading a death notice in the newspaper. The Report reflects an organisation completely off track, detached from any commercial reality and devoid of vision and purpose. Forestry Tasmania has dozens of performance criteria but not one single commercial performance criteria. That’s right – NONE!! The word “productivity” only appears in the Annual Report in relation to trees growing wood – productive forests. The word “productivity” as a measure of commercial performance is completely foreign to FT.

I shudder to think they may soon have FSC Certification. What a complete joke that will be.

It is perfectly clear that the politicians and FT management fail to understand that forestry is a commercial, profit-driven business at all levels of the industry including public and private tree growers. Given that most wood now grown and sold in Australia comes from private growers the continuing failure of FT is deeply significant. FT is like an infected wound that impacts on the whole industry. Politics and mismanagement only serve to create uncertainty and discourage investment. It certainly makes getting a commercial blackwood growers cooperative established that much harder.

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