This Roadmap was released by the New South Wales (NSW) State Government in August last year.
Yet another forest industry taskforce, yet another forest industry plan.
Do I really want to review it? Just a cursory glance tells me it is another Dead Plan Walking.
Come the next change of State Government this Plan will be history.
The Roadmap has “4 Pillars”. They are:
- Regulatory modernisation;
- Balancing supply and demand;
- Community understanding and confidence;
- Industry innovation and new markets.
Nothing there about profitability or commercial performance. Tree growing in NSW remains a community service. NSW farmers will be pleased about that!
So what are some of the glaring errors and omissions of the Roadmap?
- The NSW Forest Industries Taskforce, just like the Tasmanian Forestry Advisory Council, is comprised of only forest industry representatives. This Roadmap is a 100% political document. In contrast the Victorian Forest Industry Taskforce includes a range of community representatives;
- The complete lack of profitable tree growers;
- The commercial management and profitability of NSW Forestry Corporation (the State’s largest tree grower) is completely ignored;
- Transparent competitive log markets are completely absent. Apparently the price of logs is completely irrelevant to the future of the forest industry;
- The complete absence of costings and a budget for the Roadmap. How much is THIS plan going to cost the taxpayer? Haven’t they payed the forest industry enough already?
- “The NSW Government will aim to improve community acceptance of the forestry industry as a sustainable and renewable industry” (p.11). What a terrible statement to make. It sounds like something Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister, would say. More industry propaganda in other words.
- There is no mention at all about improving the profitability of the industry – either growers or processors.
One of the issues that is highlighted for me by the Roadmap is the fact that plantation regulation is so completely different across all Australian States. Australian plantation owners cannot compete on a level playing field, even within Australia, because the regulations around plantation establishment and management differ significantly between States. No doubt this is also true with most primary industries.
Does the Roadmap have anything useful to say?
About the only useful thing the Roadmap says is that the Government will move to put both private and public forest growers on the same regulatory playing field. It is certainly curious how competitive neutrality continues to get such a low priority in the forest industry. As for commercial performance that continues to be completely ignored.
Here are three vital reports that the Roadmap completely ignores:
I also note that the NSW Department of Primary Industries website no longer includes forestry as a primary industry. Clearly NSW farmers are just not interested.
This Roadmap is 14 pages of tedious political/industry marketing hype and nonsense.
I’ve read it all so many times before over many decades. This is nothing more than the continuation of failed forest industry policy. All around Australia the forest industry exists in a perverse parallel universe, where commercial performance is irrelevant and taxpayer subsidies are vital.
When will NSW get a fully commercial profitable forest industry?