Three important news articles in minor Tasmanian newspapers this week shine the light on the growing conflict in Tasmania over Government forest policy.
Firstly a front page article in this week’s Huon News (22/03/2017) is one of the more detailed and informative news articles on the current forestry chaos that I’ve seen.
The Huon News is the weekly newspaper of the Huon Valley, a Tasmanian community that has been particularly hard hit by the 35 years of forestry wars. The community has been left shattered and bitterly divided. And still we have our politicians stirring up trouble and pain.
The second and third articles are in this week’s Tasmanian Country (24/03/2017) newspaper, a weekly newspaper published for the rural community.
The Tasmanian Government is actively working against the advice of its own forest management agency Forestry Tasmania.
The Government is also acting against the advice of both the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania (FIAT) AND the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) representing private forest growers.
The Tasmanian Government says it is acting on behalf of the Tasmanian community AND it has a mandate from the 2014 election, and on that basis it will ignore these three critical organisations.
After reading these articles you are left scratching your head wondering what on earth is going on?
There are two points I want to highlight from these articles:
- FIAT says that the forest industry is not taxpayer subsidised. I beg to differ in the strongest terms. Despite going to the 2014 election promising no more subsidies for the forest industry, in the past 3 years the Tasmanian taxpayer has given over $250 million in subsidies to the forest industry. This includes the Tasmanian taxpayer assuming responsibility for $150 million in superannuation costs from Forestry Tasmania!! So much for health and education. What private company gets that kind of special treatment?
- The TFGA talks about bipartisan political support for the forest industry. Given that neither FIAT nor the TFGA have any forest industry policies or plans it is difficult to determine exactly how we are to judge the issue of bipartisan support. Exactly what are the political parties supposed to support? Exactly who is leading? It was blind bipartisan political support that created the Gunns and MIS disasters.
Our political system is deliberately competitive (and ultimately destructive). It’s like a football grand final. Winners AND losers!! Bipartisan political support is an oxymoron. The 2014 State election proved that.
NO ONE HAS A PLAN FOR THE TASMANIAN FOREST INDUSTRY.
Not FIAT, nor the TFGA; neither Liberal or Labor.
And if they did have a plan it would only be as good as the next State election…….if that!
While the State Government remains a major player in the forest industry then the industry is doomed.
In 2014 the people of Tasmania voted against the forest industry at the State election.
No matter what the outcome of the 2018 State election, the Huon Valley community along with the rest of the Tasmanian community and the forest industry will lose.
And on top of this the State Government is looking to bring a 150,000 cubic metres per year sawmill to Tasmania from Victoria. The Victorians have run out of sawlogs and the mill will close.
All available public native forest sawlogs in Tasmania are already fully allocated, so why bring the sawmill here? Hence the concern in the third article.
Nothing makes sense.
The only basis for a successful forest industry is profitable tree growers. None of them in Tasmania!!