Belligerent

Important market update

PaulHarrissMHA

Not many people would regard the Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) Bill 2014 currently before Tasmania’s Legislative Council as anything other than an act of belligerence.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-20/vote-to-tear-up-forest-peace-deal-delayed/5684846?section=tas

http://www.themercury.com.au/news/forestry-bill-set-to-pass-as-robert-armstronng-throws-his-weight-behind-the-plan/story-fnj4f7kx-1227031161942

The Bill provides privileged treatment for the so called special timbers industry. It effectively puts the special timbers industry above the law, subject to no effective planning, regulation or control.

The Bill gives anyone (excluding Forestry Tasmania) the opportunity to harvest special timbers from reserves, conservation areas and other public forest.

The Bill gives no consideration to commercial matters, profitability, sustainability or good forest management.

This will likely produce a special timbers free-for-all as everyone scrambles to take all the special timbers accessible from the existing road network, legally or otherwise. Never mind the land tenure, have ute and chainsaw – will harvest. Tasmanian sheds will be overflowing. A belligerent Government may well turn a blind eye.

This situation is already generating a swift, negative reaction from the Tasmanian community and the broader market. A consumer boycott of Tasmanian timbers including blackwood is almost inevitable.

This just arrived in the letterbox today so the community reaction is underway.

Special Timbers Protests

Special timbers events such as the Wooden Boat Festival and the Deloraine Stringfest will be particularly hard hit by the negative reaction.

The problem for my business is the there is no way for the market to distinguish between special timbers from private growers, and that harvested from public forest under this new legislation, or simply stolen.

Everyone in the special timbers industry will be significantly impacted, from sawmillers to merchants, craftspeople, and furniture and guitar makers all the way through to retailers.

The broader forest industry runs the very real risk that this issue wont be quarantined to just the special timbers industry, but will impact on the broader forest industry market. After all:

Forestry = politics = Tasmania!

Continuing to treat the special timbers industry as a taxpayer-funded sacred cow with free-reign to the public forest resource is guaranteed to turn very ugly. This has every chance of becoming Tasmania’s next forest industry disaster.

It will discourage existing and potential private special timbers growers from investing in the future of the industry. It is difficult to understand why the Government wants to destroy the iconic special timbers industry.

 

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