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Tasmanian Blackwood Growers

Further reflections on the FT 2014 Annual Report

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Cartoonist Jon Kudelka has identified a new version of Brand Tasmania. One that we can all identify with. The one element missing in the above image (in addition to the crumbling roads) is the queue of sacked Tasmanian teachers and nurses outside the local Centrelink office.

Please take note Forest Stewardship Council! Good commercial management and performance is absolutely fundamental to good forest management; especially when the forest in question is publically owned!

As a stakeholder in the special timbers industry attempting to build a profitable blackwood growers industry based on Tasmanian farmers, it is difficult to read the latest Forestry Tasmania annual report and get any satisfaction. In fact the overwhelming response is frustration, anger and astonishment.

We have been told repeated over the past few years, both in the media and in State Parliament that the special timbers industry is in crisis. Even to the point of having to start logging our reserves and conservation areas to keep the industry going a while longer. This looming crisis has been obvious to me for many years as the industry has survived on the residues of old growth industrial forestry.

So here we have an Annual Report that reads like nothing is wrong. The Special Timbers section (pages 25-26) contains such superficial information as to be worthless.

So is there in fact a crisis in the special timbers industry? Not according to the Annual Report. New State legislation just requires a review of “our supply strategy in future years”. A resource review is currently underway, but no mention of when this will be completed.

The new 2013 blackwood sawlog resource review is mentioned, but there is absolutely no discussion about its impact on the current or future supply of blackwood from our public forest resource, despite a significant drop in the estimated sawlog sustainable yield. Never mind that the planned harvest of blackwood sawlog will continue at well above the sustainable yield.

What about the proposed logging of special timbers in our parks and reserves?

Absolutely no mention of it.

What about a strategy for the future that might actually be useful and meaningful.

Again no mention of the future of the special timbers industry in the Annual Report.

Just amazing!

A complete white wash!

So when the discussion of special timbers in the Annual Report finishes with the off-hand mention of the tender sale price for a single blackheart sassafras log I feel absolutely insulted and ripped off. As if the sales price of sassafras sawlogs has any market significance. No one is going to invest in growing sassafras; it takes too long to grow. As if Forestry Tasmania gives a “flying fig” about sawlog prices anyway!

Forestry Tasmania is a complete basket case aided and abetted by scheming politicians.

As Mr. Kudelka clearly illustrates with his cartoon, the folly around State forest policy and practice continues unabated, and the burning of precious taxpayers money will likely continue for many years to come.

And the potential to develop and expand a profitable private blackwood industry remains frustrated.



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