Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Forestry Tasmania posts $12m loss … as Gunns compo offer hits the table

Forestry Tasmania has reported its second operating loss in as many years.

The state-owned company has recorded an operating loss of $12 million for the last financial year.

Forestry Tasmania’s Bob Gordon says the company was hard hit by changes in the industry after posting a modest profit in the first half of the year.

More to come, says ABC Online, HERE

• All predicted by Tasmanian Times’:
John Lawrence, HERE
and, Jarvis Cocker …

Jarrah Vercoe, Redd Forests:

Tasmanian’s forest carbon opportunities continue to expand

“In early July 2011, Redd Forests Pty Ltd made a proposition to the Tasmanian Government to generate a substantial income from Tasmania’s public forests through domestic and international carbon markets” says Project Manager, Jarrah Vercoe.

“The proposition is to apply the internationally validated and verified methodology under the Verified Carbon Standard to generate carbon credits by avoiding planned forest harvesting”.

“Selective logging and clearfell practices for low value chip wood generate substantial carbon dioxide emissions. Avoiding planned logging events prevents these emissions and can therefore generate carbon credits for sale in the carbon market. Redd Forests have proven this model on over 30,000 ha of private land within Tasmania”.

“We are yet to receive a response from the State Government. There is no good reason for the State Government or Forestry Tasmania to ignore this opportunity” says Project Manager, Jarrah Vercoe.

“Redd Forests want to work constructively with the Tasmanian Government to generate much needed financial revenue, maintain employment and show Tasmania as a leader in dealing with climate change”.

“Carbon credits generated can be sold nationally and internationally. Significantly, revenue can fund ongoing management and employment within the forest industry. This would include maintaining the important role that Forestry Tasmania currently fills with regard to fire, pest, disease management and monitoring. A planned logging area of 200,000 hectares will generate up to $50,000,000 per annum for the State”.

“Successful forest companies are those that can shift from a narrow commodity focus and realise emerging, sustainable and profitable alternatives”.

About Redd Forests
Redd Forests Pty Ltd is a “profit for purpose” business designed to apply commercially viable methodologies to replace activities that degrade or destroy the world’s forests.

• Kim Booth: Extinction looms for Forestry Tasmania dinosaur
Time to Reform Forestry Management in Tasmania

Kim Booth MP
Greens Forestry Spokesman

The Tasmanian Greens today said that Forestry Tasmania’s latest financial loss, 12 million dollars, shows a Government Business Enterprise in its death throes.

Greens Forestry spokesman Kim Booth said that the result once again confirms that Forestry Tasmania has been an incompetent manager of the state’s forests and a shameful drain on the public purse.

“Forestry Tasmania controls a vast, free and potentially lucrative timber resource, and it beggars belief that they continue to lose such vast amounts of taxpayer money every year, while degrading the environment and further eroding the Tasmanian brand.” Mr Booth said.

“This is another appalling indictment on a Government Business Enterprise that has prioritised the profits of woodchippers while remaining in a state of denial over the important changes currently taking place in the industry.”

“An industry-wide landscape-scale change is upon to the forest sector. In order to provide jobs into the future a restructured industry focussing on plantation-based sawn and engineered products is the way forward. Forestry is still stuck in the old high-volume low-price export model that has wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, and distorted the market by giving away wood at rates under which no other supplier can survive.”

“It is time for Labor to restructure this rogue GBE to start managing our forests for a fair return to the public purse.”

Mr Booth said now appears impossible for Forestry Tasmania to remain financially viable into the future, despite its efforts to cut its massive running costs. “

“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 huge overheads and almost nonexistent returns,” said Mr Booth.

• Christine Milne: FT weasel words mislead taxpayers

Forestry Tasmania’s latest trading results show a failing GBE clinging desperately on to the dying native forestry industry, and demonstrate again that trees on trucks cost the Tasmanian tax payer millions of dollars, Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne said.

“Here we have Forestry Tasmania managing the state’s forest resources for a huge loss.

“It is a sorry situation when you see the Managing Director of Forestry Tasmania openly bragging of a $12 million loss because it was a slight reduction on last year’s abysmal figures.

“What’s more, Mr Gordon proudly mentioned the Auditor General’s findings that Forestry Tasmania is worth $111 million a year to the state, but neglected to mention that these figures were for the years 2005 – 2008 when the Commonwealth’s more than $250 million subsidy was in place.

“Much has changed since then, and the Auditor General’s report shows the $111 million benefit was dependent on increasing levels of consumption and investment leading to a positive effect on direct and indirect employment in the state. That has not happened.

“Now we are seeing both state and federal governments responding to a dying industry by paying contractors to exit native forestry, to retrain and find employment opportunities elsewhere. The benefit espoused by Mr Gordon has clearly expired.

“This is a prime example of the weasel words used in Forestry Tasmania’s campaign of misinformation which paints their activities as sustainable and profitable. The truth, however, has seen the GBE costing the state big time.

“The release of today’s figures demonstrates why there is growing opposition to the state government’s blind faith in Forestry Tasmania as the manager of our state forests.

“Poor management of our forest resources are what saw those in the industry approach environment groups with a call for help. This is how the statement of principles transpired, and the catalyst for Federal Government intervention in the $276 million Intergovernmental Agreement.

“It is time to move away from native forestry and maximise the potential of a restructured plantation-based forest resource,” said Senator Milne.

• Gunns compo offer hits the table

The Tasmanian Government has revealed it has made a compensation offer to Gunns to relinquish its Tasmanian native forest contracts, as part of the $276 million forest peace deal.

It comes more than three weeks after Premier Lara Giddings and the Prime Minister signed off on the forest peace deal.

A figure has not been released.

The Deputy Premier, Bryan Green, says the deal has not been accepted or rejected by Gunns.

“We have not received a response at this stage,” he said.

A Gunns spokesman has refused to comment on the compensation process, other than to say the company’s shares will remain in a trading suspension until the full impact of the deal is known.

Gunns posted a net loss last week of $355 million after tax.


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  1. William Boeder

    August 30, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    #23.David Obendorf, tis all about the enchanting mystique and conjurations that whispers from their midst, usually in the darkness of the night, I am to believe the executive board members of Forestry Tasmania are not to be bothered with the daily goings on within Forestry Tasmania, that’s Bobby Gordon’s role.

    We now read of a hypothetical meeting conducted as a follow on to the last meeting of the Bored Directors- Chaired by Kilometres Hambone:

    “Righto blokes, put down your chardonnay-el-francais for a few moments, it is to business we must attend, I have allocated some few bothering 10 minutes or so to tonights meeting.”
    “Now, keep a sharp eye and a listening ear.”

    “As you all know, the reason for tonights drinkies is to ensure we continue to qualify for our annual stipends and deal with last month’s stuff-ups.”
    “OK. Meeting opened 2000 Hrs.”

    “Now then pay attention, I believe we are in for some pestering noises from the greenie trash regarding that there annual financial report of ours, it was meant to reflect only upon the piddling loss of $12 million smackers, (not for goodness sake the actual bloody $129 milliom dollars?) This is another stuff up by somebody from downstairs, surely we gave them enough fiddly tricky bits to attach to the Gunns Ltd amount owing?”
    “Skeeter, I want you to speak to our new Auditor bloke and find out why this was so made so glaringly obvious, get back to me on Tuesday, that should give us enough time to issue a media release carrying an addendum with some sort of a crafty correctional statement so to keep muddying the waters.”

    “Lofty, I want you to speak to the boys downstairs, I want you slip in tomorrow and make sure the management dudes continue with the blacking out of all our absolute secret information bits on our new signed contracts, we have to be sure that them bastard snooping greenies do not clap their paws on our special deals with the Tra Laare people from across the waters?”

    “Rightio, is there any thing else that we need to attend to?”
    “Oh, Clarrie, can you personally chase up the rejigging of the amount owed by the crafty lads from Launceston, this has got to help us in some way or another!”
    “Now blokes, anything else?”
    “No, all right then, meeting closed 2010 Hrs, get a fresh bottle Skeeter and pop the cork?!”

  2. David Obendorf

    August 30, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Allan Franklin [comment #18] is correct – the $129 million referred to is the ‘net loss attributable to the owners of Forestry Tasmania’ for the audit period. An astonishing amount of profligacy for such a small State GBE!

    Consider that in the context of the savings the State Government is now applying to Tasmanian three public hospitals and you realise that this is a rotten Apple State.

    Now I ask again why did David Bartlett and Michael Aird leave their top positions of power – as premier and treasurer respectively – within a few months of one another? Late last year even the bureaucrats knew that the train wreck had already happened in Tasmania… the only casualties would be ordinary Tasmanians.

  3. Daniel Ferguson

    August 29, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    It continues to amaze me that Lara still just doesn’t get it. This guy Bob Gordon is not a capable manager of a GBE, I believe. (apparently it must be important to qualify my opinion, I’ve seen politicians say the “I believe” qualification many times).
    Why doesn’t she just cut him loose. Give him the old “Look Bob, things are really tight, we can’t afford your ‘professional’ skills any more, so we’re letting you go.” I’m sure she could say it convincingly, and boy, wouldn’t we all heave a sigh of relief. She would be right of course, we can’t afford Bob Gordon.

  4. David Obendorf

    August 29, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    When you know you rule the roost and you keep crowing the same old clap-trap of “managing Tasmania’s public forests sustainably” you enter into the Taz-manian Pantheon of the Legends.

    Forestry Taz-mania – The Untouchables.

    By the way, where is Evan Rolley these days?; and is Dr Hans Drielsma still on the Board of the Forestry CRC?

  5. David Obendorf

    August 29, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    George Lucas would revel in this Gunns-Forestry Taz-mania saga! It’s definitely a take on a Hollywood sequele epic – complete with at least two Death stars, an Evil Empire, the persistent “Force” and many, many Darth Vaders!

    But is Taz-mania’s version a comic-melodrama take on ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Space Balls’?

    Since 2003 it’s cost millions of someone else’s money in just getting this crazy script written!

    Welcome to Taz-mania – an epic saga – still requiring more MONEY!

  6. Allan Franklin

    August 28, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    $12 million! The net loss attributable to the owners of Forestry Tasmania (us) is in fact $129,476,000

  7. John Maddock

    August 28, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Typical of failing managers to blame others for their failures.

    When FT’s management took a small, high quality resource and turned it into a small, low quality resource, only to discover it is impossible to compete in the market for commodities, they showed very clearly that they deserved to fail.

    Regretably, Tasmanians will pay the price for their failures.

    Out with the lot of them.


  8. Tim Thorne

    August 28, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    It is time FT was disbanded and the management of our forests was handed over to regional forestry management boards with community input and a charter to consider the triple bottom line.

  9. salamander

    August 28, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    FT have shown that they are not essential, are indeed irrelevant to anything other than creating more debt. Which makes the Legislative Council’s traditional support for FT very hard to understand.

  10. Mark

    August 28, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Of course the Annual Report is not the only financial statement tabled with a Board during a financial year. The first quarter will finish on 30 September and I expect the FT Board would be able to provide additional comment on expected returns for 2011-12.

    Perhaps the Tasmanian media can request access through the government.

    PS I loved Mr Hodgman’s statement in support of forestry claiming over $1 billion in returns. If it isn’t with Gunns or FT I wonder if Mr Hodgman or Mr Abbott can locate the missing $billion?

  11. Russell

    August 28, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    It’s unbelievable (well, not really), considering two losses in a row and the future looking like more of the same, that the Tasmanian Government and FT won’t take up a profitable and carbon saving venture in the forest industry which will also preserve jobs.

    They could at least try it?

    And there should be NO money for Gunns. ALL the forestry package money should go to those who worked at the coal face and suffered at the hands of Gunns’ closures and those who want to get out of the native forests permanently.

  12. Barnaby Drake

    August 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    The company has moved to significantly reduce operating costs, including reducing its workforce from 400 to 350 full-time equivalents…Chairman – FT

    So what has happened to all those other ‘equivalents’ that once numbered 10 000, according to Paul Lennon? All 9 650 of them vanished into thin air – and without trace and without compensation?

    Is there a legal definition of an ‘equivalent’. Would Bob Gordon qualify as an ‘Equivalent worker’, as opposed to an ‘Actual’? And does Forestry define their loss as an ‘equivalent loss’ every year – currently running at $34 285 per equivalent worker?

    I wonder how their compo package stands up now there are only 350 of them left. That’s getting on close to a million each – and FIAT the unions are rejecting it for them once again!

    I’m a lumberjack and I’m Okay
    Equivalent is the way I’ll stay
    Want no part in Jularia’s farce
    So stick your compo up your

  13. TassieGold

    August 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Any bets things change? Ten days ago:

    GUNNS Ltd and the State Government exchanged insults yesterday after Premier Lara Giddings made it clear the maximum compensation for the timber company ending native forest logging was $23 million.

    (Aug 19, http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2011/08/19/254421_tasmania-news.html)

  14. Trevor K

    August 28, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Same old same old. These people are not here to administer our state based services in the interests of the public. They are here to do the bidding of the plutocrats while getting as much from the trough as they can themselves.

    I used to work in the public service. Service organisations run by people dedicated to their career advancement. Guess what wins?

  15. William Boeder

    August 28, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Twould be most informative to find out the executive directors individual remuneration packages, I presume this forms part of a fully compliant Audited Annual Report?

  16. john hayward

    August 28, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    And this loss was achieved despite getting its resource for nothing, despite sparing itself any asset devaluation of State Forests logged, and despite having most of its maintenance carried out by nature and wood poachers.

    Quite a dry, Bob!.

    John Hayward

  17. Dr Gordon Bradbury

    August 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    PPS. One last comment on this. I always think the web site is a good indication of the focus and and priorities of a company. For example visit the web sites of BHP or Bluescope Steel and you quickly get a picture of what these companies are about. There is the human side, the environment is there too, but the main focus is on the business of making money. What these companies do to make money, and manage their costs.

    If you visit FTs web site you would be hard pressed to find any information on making money. What products or services do they sell? There’s the science, the people and the environment. Virtually nothing on the business side of FT. Clearly the public service culture is still dominant at FT. No wonder they can’t make a profit!

  18. Russell

    August 28, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    If Gunns paid what it owes FT (us), it would more than cover the loss.

    I also wonder how much all FT’s television advertisements (propaganda) cost (us)?

  19. Dr Gordon Bradbury

    August 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    PS. Also the annual financial results of a company are pretty useless unless accompanied by the comments of an independent auditor. Otherwise the results may be regarded as merely advertising, given the very flexible nature of our accounting standards. I’m not sure that the Auditor-General qualifies as “independent”, although I’m sure he does a very good job given his difficult position.

    I’m looking forward to John Lawrences analysis of this years FT results.

  20. Dr Gordon Bradbury

    August 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Firstly congratulations to FT for publishing a version of their financial results in todays Mercury newspaper. At least its an attempt to try and engage us all in this important subject, even thou most Tasmanias, including all of our politicians, regard the financial performance of our GBEs as being of little or no importance.

    This will be confirmed shortly when the LegCo report into FTs financial performance is released. This report should highlight significant issues and demand significant reforms, but based on past experience that is unlikely.

    FTs results in The Mercury highlight many problems and issues that need to be addressed. But as we are not shareholders in FT, there is little we can do with these results, apart from posting comments to the media. Demanding more from our elected representatives seems to have no affect at all.

    That Bob Gordon tells us that FT made yet another loss, but does not think it important to tell us how he plans to improve FTs financial performance (a criticism that the Auditor General also made) is one such issue. I therefore have to assume he plans on making another loss in the current financial year. He obviously isn’t trying to improve his support within the community. And another bad year will only further erode what little community support remains. If this were a public company, the response from the CEO would be very different indeed, otherwise the Board would seek to replace the executive.

    That FT does not have any financial performamnce benchmarks is also of significant concern. No benchmarks for minimum return on plantation or recreation investments, no minimum return on native forest assets. Just a giant bottomless pit. So there is no way for us to judge the ongoing financial performance of FT, apart from “its bad and likely to get worse”. Again compared with a public company, this is just very poor management and bad public relations. No public company could survive such a situation. So we are left to assume that the forest industry in Tasmania will continue to be run as a sheltered workshop, sponsored by the Tasmanian community. Can someone please tell me why?

  21. Jenny Weber

    August 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    The forests are locked up right now with the hundreds of gates that FT has on roads all over the state. Forestry Tasmania is in such a sad state of affairs, they are losing millions, while still building new roads in to the proposed 572 000ha that need urgent protection. Where are all their chip logs going from the south? Artec in the north. Look out for the talk of subsidising this transport one day.

  22. TassieGold

    August 28, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    do we have a Tasmanian Times Person of the Year?

  23. Claire Gilmour

    August 28, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    With Bobby Gordon’s obvious forestry and financial skills, (and his political affiliations) surely he’s attractively ripe for the picking as a Gunn’s director. Live off the public purse, demand more when you sell your assets at a fire sale, whinge the state owes you a living, indeed suggest the state can’t live without such low performance levels, and blame anything or anyone for being in such dire straits. I nominate Bobby Gordon as the GBE man of the year!!

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