The Tasmanian Greens today called on Forestry Tasmania to reveal how they will be able to avoid insolvency in the future as their operational expenses are massive and projected returns are miniscule, following Forestry’s inability to provide answers to these questions in Government Business Enterprise (GBE) hearings today.

Greens Forests spokesperson Kim Booth MP said it was disappointing that the Minister and Forestry Tasmania themselves were unable to detail how the $60 million in public funds provided under the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement (TCFA) was spent and how it will be returned for expending as per the terms of the TCFA, and also what cash flow will come from future product sales.

However, Mr Booth welcomed the recognition by Forestry Tasmania executives and Minister Green that an industry-wide landscape-scale change is coming to the forest sector, and that in order to provide jobs into the future a restructured industry focussing on plantation-based sawn and engineered products is the way forward.

“Forestry Tasmania appears unable to identify future positive income flows and are currently running at a loss. They were also unable to identify any major plans for future cash flow, raising serious doubts about their ability to avoid insolvency in the future, and the Greens are calling on them to reveal just how they will be able to trade solvently into the future without further massive public subsidies,” said Mr Booth.

“It was disappointing that neither the Minister, nor Forestry Tasmania, were able to detail where the $60 million in TFCA funds has gone, and what the balance of this public money has been expended on.”

“The Greens are seriously concerned that public money provided through the TFCA process has not been used for its original purpose, but instead used for operational expenses and to drive logging roads into wilderness areas.”

“It was refreshing, however, to hear that Forestry Tasmania and Minister Green recognise that the forest sector requires restructuring, and that the future lies in sawn and engineered products sourced from a plantation base.”

“The Greens are calling on Forestry Tasmania and Minister Bryan Green to reveal just how Forestry Tasmania will avoid insolvency in the future given their massive operating expenses and miniscule projected returns,” said Mr Booth.

John Lawrence on Tasmanian Times, 14.09.10 8:25 am : The Death of Forestry Tasmania

The full John Lawrence analyses: HERE