The Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to unlocking Tasmania’s production forests to create jobs in regional Tasmania.
Special species timber is an iconic part of our forest industry and our economy, incorporating boat builders, furniture makers and other craftspeople, which provides jobs in small businesses right across the State.
Today, I am releasing for public consultation a draft Special Species Management Plan, developed and endorsed by the Ministerial Advisory Council, which sets out the future access to special species timber.
Unfortunately, while the Plan sets out a way forward for the sector, a large proportion of the resource identified will not be able to be accessed in practice until our legislation to unlock production forests and fix up the unworkable application process for special species harvesting is passed.
The Liberal Government is continuing to back the special species sector by seeking a fresh mandate from the Tasmanian people for this legislation at the next election.
By releasing a draft plan for public consultation now, we are ensuring that we will have an approved Special Species Management Plan in place so that harvesting can commence as soon as possible after our legislation passes.
Under current legislation, for special species timber to be harvested from Future Potential Production Forest land, compliance with the Special Species Management Plan is just one of 13 steps and considerations to trawl through. Labor blocked our legislation to fix this so people can actually harvest timber.
Some of the roadblocks in the current act include only allowing special species harvesting if the timber cannot be supplied from Permanent Timber Production Zone land, a requirement for an application to be assessed against a list of 12 land management objectives, and a requirement for the Crown Lands Minister to take advice at several stages from the Resources Minister.
This unworkable application process in the current Act makes it highly unlikely that special species can be harvested from these production forests until Labor – who blocked our legislation in the Legislative Council – reverse their opposition to it.
The draft management plan and a flow chart explaining the existing convoluted process is available from:  http://www.stategrowth.tas.gov.au/forestry/special_species_timber_management_plan