Monthly Archives: August 2020

“Let’s fast track that plan!”

FastTrack

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/special-reports/more-trees-will-grow-jobs-economy/news-story/8b4fd3b46144584213fd106525ee0d6e

That’s forest industry speak for “hand over the taxpayers money now” and more political protection and subsidies please.

This is a typical piece of forest industry windy hyperbole; full of bluster, promise, and foreboding. I’ve been reading this kind of rubbish all my long forestry career.

The forest industry cannot convince Australian farmers to include commercial treegrowing in their business models.

Why?

Because the forest industry in Australia has zero commercial credibility!

So who then is the audience for this article?

None other than Governments and politicians of course.

This article is not written for the farming community.

As usual the forest industry talks about growing demand and supply shortages but fails to talk about markets, costs, prices and profits.

Forest policy in Australia has always been about loggers, sawmillers and processors – regional jobs.

Forest policy in Australia has never, ever been about profitable tree growers.

This article talks about regional jobs and communities, and deliberately avoids any mention of profitable tree growers.

Saving regional jobs – ie. Welfare forestry – is a major focus of the forest industry.

But welfare forestry is a dead end; a road to failure.

The only truism in this article is “we need to grow the plantation estate significantly and strategically”.

If forestry markets are so positive as this article wants us to believe, then why isn’t the marketplace responding and farmers planting trees? Surely that is the way markets work is it not? More demand triggers higher prices triggers more supply etc, etc.. Classic economics!!

But Australia does not have a forestry market. There is no relationship in Australia between wood supply, demand, price, cost and profit. None!

And that is the result of deliberate industry and Government policy.

The end result is that the forest industry has no commercial credibility and farmers don’t plant trees.

And the forest industry has no clue whatsoever how to fix this problem except write blustering rubbish like this.

Sustainable Timbers Tasmania fails FSC audit again!

logging2

After being audited in May 2019, and the audit report being finalised in February this year, Sustainable Timbers Tasmania (STT) this week were finally courageous enough to publically announce that it had once again failed FSC certification.

https://www.sttas.com.au/

https://www.abc.net.au/radio/northtas/programs/drive/sustainable-timber-tasmania-fsc-certification/12567014

No one seems at all surprised!

It has been more than 10 years since STT promised to gain FSC certification.

That’s 10 years of failure!

With Bunnings Hardware promising to only sell FSC certified products after 31st December 2020, the future for STT is not looking good. Bunnings is the largest retailer of Tasmanian oak products from Tasmania’s public native forests.

On 1st July this year Bunnings announced they would no longer sell public native forest products from Vicforests.

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2020/07/01/bunnings-stops-selling-timber-logged-by-vicforests-after-court-ruling/

The long, slow, bitter, costly road to oblivion for public native welfare forestry in Australia is entering its final phase.

Meanwhile instead of questioning its own failings, or plotting a new course for the future, the forest industry is now waging an all out publicity war on anyone it regards as an enemy, including the FSC and Bunnings.

The culture within the forest industry has become neurotic and hostile.

How the forest industry responds and behaves in this final closing down of public native forestry in Australia will impact the greater industry for decades to come.

If the industry continues its current hostile virulent campaign then the brand/industry damage will be severe indeed.

The private forestry sector in Australia is already starved of oxygen in attempting to generate a positive image and message to the marketplace and the community.

A few more years of negative hostile publicity will alienate more of the marketplace and the community, and further isolate the forest industry.

The Australian forest industry desperately needs to improve its support within the broader community. Right now the opposite is happening.

Will the private forestry sector remain silent as its future is destroyed in this battle?

  1. By the way this article had no impact whatsoever on the FSC audit:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/29/tasmanian-forest-agreement-delivers-13bn-losses-in-giant-on-taxpayers

Apparently the FSC is perfectly happy supporting fraudulent behaviour in the forest industry.

A proposal to develop New Zealand’s alternative, specialty timbers industry

cropped-p26-nicholas-presentation-blackwood-2011m.jpg

https://fgr.nz/2020/07/14/survey-a-proposed-industry-association-for-alternative-specialty-timbers-and-small-scale-sawmillers/

This sounds exciting!

As usual the New Zealand forest industry is generations ahead of anything happening here in Australia.

This new proposal to establish a NZ Specialty Timbers Association is just brilliant.

Unlike specialty timbers in Tasmania, the industry in NZ has nothing to do with plundering public native forests, or endless, repetitive political games.

New Zealand’s specialty timbers are farm-grown, and include plantations and managed native forest.

A discussion paper about the proposal is available from the above website. It is only 5 pages and well worth reading.

One of the interesting aspects of the proposal is the key role which portable sawmillers will play in the Association; providing the vital link between the marketplace and the thousands of specialty timbers growers in New Zealand.

The current focus of the discussion paper is on the NZ domestic markets which is fine. There are plenty of opportunities locally. But there are a few specialty species (incl. Blackwood) for which available volumes are already in excess of domestic demand, so that export markets must be developed immediately.

Two aspects that I believe are vital for the new Association to consider:

  1. An Industry Plan is needed, with objective, measurable goals and regular reviews. Having thousands of farmers randomly planting thousands of different timber species with no vision or coordination, will not build a viable future. The marketplace needs to develop a select list of preferred species, so that viable marketable quantities of quality wood from these species are available to the market.
  2. Lots of marketplace support and feedback, from builders, architects, craftspeople, etc., needs to be generated so that farmers can have a sense of what they are doing and why. Currently the marketplace completely avoids thinking 10, 20, 30 years into the future when it comes to timber supply. This must change!!

I will follow this story as it develops over the coming months and years.

Congratulations New Zealand!

You have done it again!!