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Tasmanian Blackwood Growers

Centrelink Timbers


Below are extracts relating to special timbers from the recently released Forestry Tasmania (FT) Ministerial Charter 2015. The Charter provides another wonderful opportunity to highlight just how stupid Tasmanian forest policy and practice is in the 21st century.

According to the Ministerial Charter FT identifies, manages, harvests and sells special timbers on both commercial and non-commercial bases!

How’s that for a business model guaranteed to fail?


And don’t forget that FT’s non-commercial activities are funded by the Australian/Tasmanian taxpayer; these are Taxpayer Timbers!

How FT defines and distinguishes between “commercial” and “non-commercial” special timbers when profitability is clearly not the objective in either case, is not explained?

The FT Annual Report provides no clarity on this confusion either. The Annual Report shows how much special timbers are sold each year, but makes no distinction between direct and indirect, commercial and non-commercial sales or other activities.

It is a complete mess!

Which special timbers were sold as non-commercial? On what basis were these non-commercial sales made?

How are costs and revenues accounted for with commercial and non-commercial sales?

On what basis are prices determined for commercial and non-commercial special timbers?

Why are special timbers managed in this confusing manner?

Why is there no transparency in the reporting of FT’s special timbers operations?

Why are special timbers treated as a taxpayer funded (non-commercial) community service?

As a forester I am of the opinion that forestry is a profit-driven commercial business. There is no such thing as forestry charity.

So why is Tasmania running a wood production charity?

Public native forest special timbers management is a mess.

Scarce taxpayers money is being wasted providing a charity that should not exist. Apparently wood craftsmen are more important than teachers and nurses.

Tasmanian farmers are being actively discouraged from investing in commercial blackwood because of the anti-commercial and anti-competitive policies and practices of Forestry Tasmania and the State government.

This will destroy Tasmania’s iconic blackwood industry.

And to this total mess the Government wants to add the costly and divisive logging of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Having written-off all of its own failed public blackwood plantations (over 850 ha), Forestry Tasmania’s 2013 Blackwood Sawlog Resource Review states that:

Blackwood plantations may be more appropriate for intensive farm woodlots rather than for extensive land managers such as Forestry Tasmania.

As the largest blackwood grower (native forest) and seller in Tasmania Forestry Tasmania fails to see any conflict or irony in this statement. How are Tasmanian farmers supposed to be encouraged to grow commercial blackwood when FT regards blackwood as a charity timber?

Can Tasmanian forest policy get any more insane or ridiculous?

PS. For international readers Centrelink is the Australian Federal Government agency tasked with delivering social programs such as assisted employment and unemployment benefits.

When will Tasmania get a fully commercial profitable forest industry?



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