Special Timbers Subsidised Charade Continues


Forestry Tasmania, the State government forest agency tasked with commercially managing the public native forests of Tasmania, has released its Annual Report for 2016. Forestry Tasmania is Australia’s largest grower and producer of Tasmanian blackwood timber.


A previous blog has focused on the insolvency of the organisation and its dismal future.


Here I limit my comments specifically to blackwood and other so called special timbers. These are mostly reported on pages 25-26 of the Annual Report.

Since 1991 Forestry Tasmania has had a commitment to supply 10,000 cubic metres per year of millable blackwood sawlog (Category 4 and Utility) to market.

Forestry Tasmania also calculates a blackwood (millable) sawlog sustainable yield which it must abide by. Forestry Tasmania only calculates 2 sustainable yields: one for eucalypt sawlog and one for blackwood sawlog. The blackwood sawlog sustainable yield is 3,000 cubic metres per year.


Once again Forestry Tasmania refuses to tell us how much millable blackwood sawlog it produced during the year. Once again all we are told is total special timbers production that includes outspec and craftwood. We are told that 8,007 cubic metres of millable special timbers sawlog was produced.

Once again the report refuses to tell us what prices blackwood and other special timbers achieved. The Government has already admitted that Forestry Tasmania’s prices are ridiculously low give-away prices!!


Once again the report refuses to reconcile blackwood sawlog production with the sustainable yield. The overcutting of the public native forest blackwood resource continues unabated.

Once again the special timbers report on pages 25-26 refuses to openly and honestly tell us that special timbers production is managed as a non-profit, non-commercial, taxpayer funded activity. Is Forestry Tasmania being deliberately deceitful?

Once again the long suffering Tasmanian taxpayer has been forced to subsidise the special timbers industry directly to the tune of $0.91 million (p. 70).

That equates to a direct subsidy of $86.27 for every cubic metre of our highest quality, most valuable sawlog, veneer log and old stump and lump of craftwood that was harvested during the year.

Every $10,000 dining suite, every $8,000 bedroom suite on the showroom floor includes a few hundred dollars of taxpayer subsidy. It really is an outrage and a terrible waste of public money that should be spent on our schools and hospitals.

If anyone in the blackwood industry or the Tasmanian community believes this charade equates to open, honest, transparent reporting by our public forest manager they should think again.

When will Tasmania get a fully commercial profitable forest industry?

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