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

Economy

British firm blacklists Tasmanian timber

image

The Prime Minister’s peace deal was supposed to end decades of conflict in Tasmania’s forests but protests are continuing.

Now, a London company is boycotting timber products from the island state.

Last month it emerged timber from Tasmanian forests was being used on London Olympic building sites.

The purchaser of the timber products says it will no longer buy the Tasmanian timber from Ta Ann products due to lobbying by activists.

That has infuriated the company, industry and the State Government.

Tim Birch from Markets for Change was among the environmentalists who flew to London.

“Our investigations working with environmental groups in Tasmania clearly has shown that Ta Ann continue to source products coming from these vital forests, and so we went to London to visit a number of companies to inform them of exactly what was happening.”

While the Prime Minister’s peace deal does say there should be no logging in these forests, the areas are still being assessed to determine if they are actually high conservation value.

Forestry Tasmania says that under the deal it is allowed to keep logging in these areas to supply Ta Ann.

Nevertheless Ian Attwood, the managing director of International Plywood which bought Ta Ann’s timber for the Olympics says his company is now boycotting Ta Ann’s products.

“The reason we’ve stopped or we’ve suspended purchasing from Ta Ann is mainly because of the controversy around the logging in Tasmanian forestry,” he said.

“The NGO’s will have to be happy with any changes that they can make to enable the product to be purchased by us again.”

Mr Attwood says he was concerned by what he heard from two activist groups: Markets for Change and the Huon Valley Environment Centre.

“We’re not there to, you know, to savage the forests. We’re here to try and buy product in a responsible manner.”

That is hotly contested by Forestry Tasmania, Ta Ann and the Tasmanian Government.

The company’s products are certified as sustainable under the international PEFC scheme.

Misrepresented

David Ridley from Ta Ann is overseas, however his manager Greg Hickey says the company’s practices have been misrepresented.

“It is concerning that they’re going and targeting our customers, mainly because of the certification that we have which points to our environmental credentials.”

“Our real concern is that if our customers don’t buy from us then they’re going to buy from potentially illegally-logged sources.”

Ken Jeffreys from Forestry Tasmania has attacked the green groups for targeting Ta Ann’s customers.

“We’re talking about a situation here that is reminiscent of the 1930s, where if you didn’t pay protection your shop was burnt the next day.”

“Now the same is occurring today. The activists go these companies, they say unless you do what we want, we’re going to blackball your products.”

AM also has a letter Tasmania’s Deputy Premier Bryan Green wrote to International Plywood urging them to continue buying timber from Ta Ann.

Mr Attwood says he found the arguments of the activists more persuasive.

Clearly the battles of the past are far from over despite the forest peace deal.

Conor Duffy’s story HERE

• Jenny Webber, Tim Birch

Ta Ann Tasmanian Native Forest Veneer Rejected By UK Market

International Plywood, a major UK importer of plywood from Ta Ann’s Tasmania operations has told the Australian ENGO Markets for Change that they will not be purchasing any more timber from Ta Ann while the controversy around ongoing logging of Tasmania’s High Conservation Value (HVC) and old growth forests continues.

“Markets for Change is encouraged that the international market is so concerned about the ongoing destruction of Tasmania’s high conservation value forests that International Plywood from the UK has taken the decision to no longer buy Ta Ann Tasmania’s plywood product. It is significant that even though Ta Ann had PEFC (1) certification for this product the market has still rejected it as it is
sourced from such valuable forests,” said Tim Birch CEO of Markets for Change Markets for Change (MFC) recently released detailed research tracking Ta Ann veneer timber from Tasmania’s high conservation forests through Malaysia to London and a sports hall to be used in training by Team USA during the 2012 London Olympics. (2)

Detailed analysis by Market for Change’s partner NGO in Tasmania (Huon Valley Environment Centre) has clearly shown that Ta Ann Tasmania’s operations continue to receive wood products coming from high conservation value forests in Tasmania. These forests have already been earmarked for protection by the Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) in Tasmania, yet they continue to be logged. (3)

“This decision by International Plywood sends a clear message to Ta Ann that their association with the destruction of Tasmania’s high conservation value forests is bad for business. Ta Ann can no longer claim that their veneer product is sourced from plantations and sustainable regrowth forests. They must take immediate steps to remove identified high conservation forests from their supply chain,” said Will Mooney from Huon Valley Environment Centre.

Following the release of this research Markets for Change contacted a number of UK companies involved in the supply of Ta Ann Tasmania veneer plywood to the UK market. International Plywood UK were surprised when evidence was provided by MFC and Huon Valley Environment Centre showing Ta Ann Tasmania were sourcing wood products from high conservation value forests as they were under the clear impression that they were purchasing wood products from Ta Ann that came from plantations. Even a recent letter from the Deputy
Premier of Tasmania, Brian Green to International Plywood UK urging them to continue buying from Ta Ann Tasmania did not persuade the company to continue purchasing veneer plywood from Ta Ann Tasmania.

Markets for Change will continue its campaign, nationally and internationally, to urge the market to reject wood products coming from High Conservation Value forests and instead trade in wood products sourced from ecologically responsible plantations.

Markets for Change is committed to supporting an Australian forest industry based on well managed FSC certified plantation products. Such a plantation based timber industry will ensure long term secure jobs for workers and the protection of native forests.

NOTES:
1. The Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) has been widely criticised by international environment groups as it is not an indicator of acceptable environmental standards and does not safeguard high conservation value from ongoing logging.
2. http://www.marketsforchange.org/2012-olympics-timber/
3. http://www.scribd.com/doc/72216112/Ta-Ann-Final-Report-2011-Web

SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK
Senator for Tasmania
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry and Science
M E D I A R E L E A S E
22 December, 2011
Latest market sabotage proves forest peace deal is dead

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck has demanded the sham forestry peace process being conducted in Tasmania be abandoned immediately.

“Revelations today that International Plywood is now boycotting purchase of materials from Tasmanian sources demonstrates that ENGOs* are not keeping their end of the bargain to cease protest action,” Senator Colbeck said.

“Claims of peace in our forests are now nothing more than a sick joke.

“Even worse, ENGOs are now using the process as a weapon against Tasmanian industry, businesses, workers and jobs.

“This is nothing short of disgraceful economic vandalism.

“None of the areas that are the subject of the Intergovernmental Agreement have any formal conservation status – they are merely areas claimed by the conservation movement to be of high conservation value (HCV).

“Its my understanding that at this stage of the IGA process a definition for HCV has not even been agreed, and this consequently is allowing the ENGOs to make any claim they like.

“And those claims include areas of pine plantation, eucalypt plantation, 30 year old regrowth from clear fell and burn, and even part of a Defence Force artillery range.

“The Coalition has said from the outset that the IGA process was a sham.

“It is now even worse – It is a weapon being used against Tasmania. This IGA is costing our state income and jobs, and is harming our environmentally credentials in global markets – all without foundation.

“Here is the first challenge for the new Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Sid Sidebottom: Stand up for your state and put an end to this sham process which you and your Labor mates foisted on us and is now damaging Tasmania,” Senator Colbeck said.

* Environmental Non-Government Organisations

Ta Ann should refuse wood from 572,000ha of high conservation value forests

Ta Ann must inform Forestry Tasmania that it will not source any wood from the identified 572,000ha of high conservation value forests or it will continue to undermine confidence in Tasmania as a place to invest and in its own business, Senators Bob Brown and Christine Milne said in Hobart today following news that British firm International Plywood is suspending purchases of Ta Ann products.

“Ta Ann’s officials should begin with a green ban on wood sourced from coupe TN044B, just two kilometres from Tasmania’s World Heritage Wilderness Area where environmental braveheart Miranda Gibson is camped 60 metres high in a tree as the forest below her is being felled,” Senator Brown said.

“The October re-schedulers report that was leaked early this week demonstrates that the new logging schedule is specifically designed for Ta Ann. Its contracts are driving logging in many HCV areas and it has now been found out with Markets for Change tracking wood from Tasmania’s native forests through Malaysia to London destined for the floor of a sports stadium to be used by Team USA,” Senator Milne said.

“Ta Ann thought it could get away with marketing its product as regrowth and plantation and it’s now been exposed. The coupe on the slopes of Mt Mueller is further evidence for International Plywood and buyers in Japan that HCV forest is being logged primarily for Ta Ann.

“The intergovernmental agreement clearly states in Clause 27 that compensation will be paid to ensure logging is stopped in the 430,000ha while the independent verification process is occurring. That verification process is not due to report until February next year,” Senator Milne said.

“The London ban on this company’s products will spread. The Sarawak logging industry is now under inquiry in Malaysia for corruption. In Australia, Prime Minister Gillard’s intergovernmental agreement, which she signed on 7th August 2011 to prohibit logging for Ta Ann and other companies in 572,000 hectares of high-conservation value forests, should be honoured before Christmas,” Senator Brown said.

image
Miranda Gibson in her observer tree

Still Wild Still Threatened welcomes UK boycott of Ta Ann’s forest destruction.

Today the good news was announced that UK company International Plywood has made a decision to suspend purchasing wood products from Ta Ann Tasmania. This was the result of a visit from representatives of Markets for Change and the Huon Valley Environment Center, who showed evidence of Ta Ann’s destruction of high conservation value forests in Tasmania.

“International Ply’s decision is a great victory for the forests of Tasmania. It is a real indication that people across the world are committed to purchasing wood products that are truly sustainable and do not come from the decimation of world-class native forests” Said Miranda Gibson, spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened.

“Today is my ninth day living 60 meters up in this giant tree in the middle of a forest that should be protected, but is being allowed to be logged to provide wood to Ta Ann. This tree sit – The ObserverTree- has begun to receive global attention. This growing international support is reflected in today’s announcement. Customers and businesses around the world do not want to buy wood from Tasmania’s irreplaceable forests” said Ms Gibson.

“The Prime Minister has failed to honor her promise to protect these world-class forests and destructive logging operations continue in order to supply Ta Ann. Now it is time for Julia Gillard to step in line with the rest of the world and protect Tasmania’s high conservation value forests” said Ms Gibson.

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38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Robin Halton

    December 31, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Frank Nickalson re your # 32 My answer is clearly stamped in my #37. Cheers for now.

  2. Robin Halton

    December 29, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    #27, #31 JA Stevenson: Thank you for your interest in Ta Ann and subsequent questions on the forest management regimes in place to accompany RVP billet harvest.
    For the detailed information that you would require I think it best that you contact FT direct and discuss it with a forester who deals with the operational aspects and knows the financial positioning between Ta Ann and FT.
    Briefly, FT claim that up to what was export pulpwood, about 25% of it is now taken up by RVP billett logs. To appease the forever agitating Greens, Regrowth forests and not Old growth is used for billet harvest the quantity being 265,000 tonnes per annum.
    Value adding and having two rotary veneer peeling mills in the state must also account for increased business generated in the community ie engineering maintenance and transport as well as stable employment for local harvesting contractors who also harvest sawlogs and lesser quantities of pulpwood.
    The current blacklisting of Ta Ann by International Plywood has more to do with the Tasmanian Green groups provoking IP with bogus remarks about a signed and agreed IGA by ALL parties more so than FSC.
    FIAT and TCA as far as I know have not signed the final IGA, the piss weak State Government lead by her ladyship Lara Gidding has stampeded the IGA without any regard to the remaining industry players.
    You are probably already aware that Ta Ann has on the Internet an informative site that details their Tasmanian operation. Cheers for now JA and best of luck with your research.

  3. Barnaby Drake

    December 28, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    26.I am angry that our one of our local council representatives Alderman Helen Burnett has stepped outside her position of trust and responsibility to support the forest activists. Robin Halton.

    However, I note there was no anger when some Launceston Councillors stepped outside their position of trust and voted to support a pulpmill at Longreach!

    Would you also recommend that six members of the Launceston Council should immediately resign?

    As for Ta Ann, the difference is that they are NOT certified by FSC and their client is! They have a reputation to defend, whereas Ta Ann has one to hide.

  4. Frank Strie, TWFF President

    December 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Re #33 above, Very Interesting, most informative!
    As we all can see, the information does provide clear direction to any (potential) suppliers and customers.
    Consequently, the political voices in the Lib lab camp just confirm that the Forestry Tasmania Joint Venture enterprise was either ignoring these clear statements and demonstrated again how trust in Tassie Isle is being undermined, again and again.
    The Japanese paper copanies dropped the pretenders after visiting Tasmania and after proper face to face stakeholder consultation.
    TWFF as a founding Member Organisation of ‘Responsible Forest Management Australia Limited – trading as FSC Australia, would be only too happy to meet with the International Plywood Company Management and expose the uniquely Tasmanian game.
    ‘Tasmania – explore the reality’
    2012 will another great opportunity for real change.
    To the political players (esp. Bryan, Will and Nick) I like to suggest to visit our website and let us know how your vision of a future forest industry matches with our silviculture guiding principles.
    http://www.twff.org.au
    , and for even more international details visit
    http://www.prosilvaeurope.org/?q=node/36
    Our door is still open.

  5. J A Stevenson

    December 28, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Fact finder. This is Tasmania. Plywood and veneer prices vary tremendously depending on species, figuring and fashion.
    Rotary cut veneer is usually the base line for price. What seems to happen here is prime forests are cut down, there does not seem to be any selection of prime quality timbers, a few peeler quality logs are obtained and the rest, over 95% of the timber, which is removed from the site is sent for pulp. Much timber remains on site but for various reasons is not utilised.
    Finally, in the burning season, all Tasmania is covered by smoke which anyone can see, what one can see is the oxygen which is destroyed and converted in twice the amount of CO2.
    All is replanted and instead of a uneven aged biodiversity rich forest, is changed into a mono-block plantation.

  6. Factfinder

    December 28, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Policy statements from the Website:
    International Plywood and the Environment

    International Plywood recognises that we have a responsibility to the environment and endeavour to carry out every aspect of our business in ways which are as environmentally friendly as possible.

    Our commitment to environmental policy is demonstrated by our FSC chain of custody (SA-COC-1305) which is awarded by the Forest Stewardship Council to Companies who can demonstrate that their products contain wood from well managed forests. This is an independent certification and International Plywood has held chain-of-custody allowing us to sell FSC Certified Plywood and Timber Products as a part of our stock range since 2003.

    In 2006 we were awarded PEFC chain-of-custody which enabled us to widen our stock-range of certified products. Commitment to the environment is part of every aspect of our business. As an ISO9001:2000 approved organisation, International Plywood regularly appraise our suppliers to ensure their products and services meet the exacting standards we demand. In many cases we investigate a supplier’s environmental policy before a partnership can begin.
    ————————————————–
    For any questions, visit the website and use the contact link:
    http://www.plywooduk.com/contact.php

    If you are interested in becoming a supplier to International Plywood, please read our Product Sourcing Guide before you contact us. You will need to complete our Supplier Questionnaire.

  7. frank nicklason

    December 28, 2011 at 2:45 am

    A few errors in your post #26 need to be pointed out, Robin.
    A couple of spelling mistakes; it is Helen Burnet (not Burnett) and Elizabeth Perey (not Perry).
    Neither myself, Frank Nicklason, nor Elizabeth Perey, are “anti-forestry activists” as you simplistically suggest. Yes, it is true, both of us are vehemently opposed to what sometimes is described as forestry but is clearly little more than tree mining.
    JA Steveson’s posting #27 pretty much describes how I feel about the waste and destruction that is ongoing.
    In your anger and haste to play the man, and 2 women, you have overlooked the need to address, and rebut if you can, the substance of our letter.
    If you really want to make a worthwhile response to our letter then read it more carefully and comment, please.

  8. J A Stevenson

    December 26, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Further to my # 25 regarding the number of veneer logs produced per hectare of forest totally destroyed what price per cu: m were obtained. For different species? Also what diam: and age are these veneer timbers.
    In the UK in 1960 run of the mill saw logs were being sold standing at 2/6 per cu: ft. or less. Standard rotary cut veneer logs were being sold at 1 GBP per: cu ft.
    All other veneer timbers were at least 2 GBP per cu: ft , rising to 10 per: cu: ft or more depending on species, figuring, diameter etc. These were always sliced.
    It would appear that FT is destroying the forests to sell into the lowest veneer market price of the few lowest value veneer quality timbers.

  9. William Boeder

    December 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    As well as each of the sound explanatory reasons offered by the environmental movements and also individuals who have contributed their comments to this article, I give my warm thank-you to each and all.
    In this day and age of our capitalist economy of today there are not very many business operations that can so determinedly sell their major product at a price that is below the expense incurred in acquiring whatever that product may be.

    My mind tells me that this practice is inordinately stupid!
    (Yet such as as Forestry Tasmania does, through and by their logging activities, of which are by their very nature adamantly claiming the good sense in their so doing?)

    This State seemingly hosts a number of ministerial “Goons in government” whom brazenly support Forestry Tasmania in their profitless endeavors of selling their logged products for far less than are their logging acquisition costs, “just to achieve an enormous volume of Native Forests destroyed in order to make money backwards.”
    (A defined pointless operational activity of logging our diminishing realms of Old Growth Forests to generate a less than nil return for the monies expended.)

    Apparently this is seen as a clever business strategy by a worryingly large bunch of our inept and illogically minded Tasmanian State ministers?

    Economics 101 would challenge these ministers of their need to turn costs of say $10,000-00 to create a product sale price of $8,000-00?

    Yep, this is the almightily logging industry of Forestry Tasmania!

  10. Barnaby Drake

    December 24, 2011 at 1:49 am

    The Tasmanian Government says a decision by a London firm to ban the state’s timber products puts the forestry peace deal at risk…. Zoe Edwards … ABC News

    What utter nonsense and hypocrisy!

    This is standing the Truth on its head!

    What is putting both the forests and Forestry at risk is the intransigence of Foresty Tasmania and all their backers on both sides of government who are beholden to this corrupt industry for their party funds.

    Ta Ann is known throughout the world as one of the most disreputable timber companies to have ever existed, with direct ties to the Taib family who control the government in an oligarchy that is being investigated for corruption at every level.

    What gives with this government of ours that can ignore the populace, the year of negotiations that tried to resolve the forestry conflict and the IGA arrangement that eventuated. All this is as nought compared with the greed of the Forestry industry and the cow-towing of the local government members.

    It is not as though this benefits Tasmania in any way. Forestry are incapable of making a profit and have been for nigh on twenty years. It has been an absolute burden on the Treasury with their demands to subsidise their losses, all of which benefit only their clients, not us. We are in effect paying out our taxes to the likes of Ta Ann, Gunns and Apren, and when it it is pointed out to the people in parliament, they howl in dissent that this process cannot continue and that there are unprincipled objectors making trouble. The real fact f the matter is that it is these objectors who are the ONLY bastion of democracy that we possess. The process long ago exited through the window of corruption in Tasmanian politics.

    Is Lara Giddings standing behind her deputy in his attempt to slaughter the IGA accord. If she doesn’t censure him over this action, then she is declaring her hand.

    For Tasmania’s sake, the Bryan Greens, the Gutweins and the Abetzes should exit the island that they are so intent on impoverishing, along with all their mates, past and present from the equally inefficient Forestry. Only then will we stand a chance of recovery from their slaughter of our finances and forests.

  11. john hawkins

    December 23, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    As my final fling for the year I would like to throw this into the ring.

    When John Hayward was trying altruistically through the Tasmanian Supreme Court at no advantage and eventually great cost to himself to stop the clear felling of the Kelly’s block above Mole Creek I met by appointment on site Graham Wilkinson prior to its burning and replacement with a monoculture, nitens plantation.

    Wilkinson is the Tasmanian Chief Forest Practices Officer and has been since 1996, a Masters Graduate in Forestry Science he has over 30 years experience covering forest operations,research policy and regulation in Tasmania.

    I asked him if he was proud of the scene of devastation portrayed before us and created by his lifetimes experience and efforts as a Tasmanian Forester in turning Native Forest into plantations?

    His reply was that “It was past its useby date” and that he had advised the Government to that effect.

    The world has now caught up with the Tasmanian Governments of all hues with their unethical facilitation of both FT and Gunns.

    Pollies are learning from real time experience that the world of corruption and mates surrounding forestry in Tasmania is indeed collapsing.

    These cleared forests will never get FSC accreditation Wilkinson will keep his job and the world will bankrupt all the players in this outdated and uneconomic industry.

    I predict that a new broom will sweep away the fossils of the past and that a new and dynamic forestry industry will arise from the Tasmanian ashes.

    Bring in 2012.

  12. J A Stevenson

    December 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Robin Halton The reason these protesters are achieving there aims proves that there are serious concerns which need addressing throughout the whole Tasmanian forestry industry.
    Particularly when they see similar things happening in other countries outside their control.
    Global warming, loss of bird and animal species, rare and endangered plants all destroyed. Nowhere should whole landscapes be cleared of all growth of all ages to obtain a few high quality stems. 95% of all developing trees are slaughtered for chips and the remainder, even good quality lengths which are too bent or not long enough for easy transport, probably 25%, put to the torch which even blind people can detect. Added to the genuine fears for their children and grand children how can they not be concerned and expected to keep their fears to themselves.
    Only in the last 50 years has this rape and pillage of forests been undertaken worldwide on this scale. This latest protest regarding Ta Ann is just a climax of a simmering realisation that something is wrong. Could you say how many veneer quality stems have been supplied to Ta Ann and how many hectares were totally destroyed to obtain these?
    In this day and age there must be a way found to harvest individual trees as used to be done in my youth without destroying the whole forest. The key to maintaining the forests in perpetuity is obtaining egress without opening up the whole area to vehicular traffic.
    The money wasted on FT and Gunns would have obtained answers but everyone seems blinkered.
    I have suggested mono-rail systems1. High grade timber can be removed from forests with no disturbance to the infrastructure. Selected trees could be felled, timber converted into planking using modern light mobile band mills and the valuable wood carried out by mono-rail transport. Mono-rails only require a 2 metre wide passage. This is supported on hydraulic jacked support chairs every 4 to 6 metres. The only contact required with the forest floor. Industry could meet the demand for this system from proven technology. Butts on steep hillsides could be carried to the saw by high lead logging systems which have been in use for 100 years.
    The mono-rail could be laid at a rate of 1kl per day easily. I worked with these systems which carried 2 tons of concrete using a 10hp engine 50 years ago.
    Other people may have better ideas, if so lets here them.

  13. Robin Halton

    December 22, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    I am angry that our one of our local council representatives Alderman Helen Burnett has stepped outside her position of trust and responsibility to support the forest activists. Ref Mercury newspaper letter 23rd Dec. Hot topic “Huge waste and destruction” along with to other well known anti forestry activists, Frank Nicklason and a Elizabeth Perry.
    Thank god that Alderman Helen Burnett failed to be elected as the Mayor of Hobart as it would have been both embarrassing and counter productive given the responsibility of a prominent public figure representing our capital city here in Southern Tasmania
    By association with these forest activists, Burnett should by association immediately resign from the Hobart City Council and take her off beat ambitions elsewhere.
    The black listing of Ta Ann products is a serious matter which involves provocative interference of a Tasmanian based business relationship between a global associate without sufficient reason.
    This will only lead to increased tensions in the forests, any resolution is now impossible as the Greens have now clearly shown.


    Editor’s note: minor edit for tone.

  14. J A Stevenson

    December 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    The problems with the whole Tasmanian forestry industry is not the amount of good quality veneer timber being removed and sold but the complete destruction of the whole forest to obtain the timber. It is not a case of how many veneer logs are supplied but how many hectares of forest was destroyed to obtain them. It should be possible to harvest logs without totally destroying the whole forest including the younger trees of the same species which if left would eventually grow in fine veneer specimens them selves.

  15. PB

    December 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I couldn’t agree more Col#23. The likes of FT and Ta Ann have a lot to answer for!

  16. Col

    December 22, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I’ve had enough of environmental vandals misrepresenting everything. Give them a forest somewhere, take away there govt jobs / benefits and let them be at harmony in the scrub.

    There will never be peace in the forests because those that apparently seek it clearly don’t want it, they don’t want to compromise and the current crap and misrepresentations of science in the climate change debate are further evidence that our ability to adapt to new environment conditions will always be undermine by extremists who are ideologically driven against all forms of economic growth.

  17. Mark

    December 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    I’m encouraged by a series of statements from all sides. Firstly, International Plywood has stated it will discontinue purchases until the ENGOs advise outstanding issues have been satisfied (seems to indicate FSC and IGA requirements). Secondly, Ken Jefferies of FT shooting from the lip about 1930’s American protection rackets (rush of blood, perhaps). Then Mr Hickey of Ta Ann advising they will continue to log HCV forests (another rush of blood and the first admission I’ve read Ta Ann is up to its eyeballs in the IGA problem). Finally, Bryan Green writing a seemingly useless plea to International Plywood. A thin veneer in more ways than one.

  18. Mineshaft

    December 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    What a fantastic Christmas present,a big thanks Markets for Change and the Huon Valley Environment Centre
    As a Huon Valley resident I am off to stuff a $50 note into the HVEC Christmas stocking right now!!

  19. Robin Halton

    December 22, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I can tell you now that any chance of keeping the peace in the forests will not occur! In fact the forests could become a harder battle ground with many sore heads ordered to leave forest work sites under police escort this summer. I would suggest stay away out of harms reach, thank you.
    As for the rest of it, you know damn well what I am saying. Green groups are determined to destroy what remains of the forest industry dragging down the State’s economy with it.

  20. john hawkins

    December 22, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I saw Bryan Green on the television last night ,his nose looks ever redder.

    Was this was caused by embarrassment?

  21. Miss MoneyPenny

    December 22, 2011 at 10:33 am

    10 – Rod, you beat me to it!

    This just proves that the pulp mill is financially riskier than ever.

    Perhaps those TWS and FTV representatives that met with the ANZ after the Gunns AGM could pass on this news item?

  22. Barnaby Drake

    December 22, 2011 at 8:58 am

    “Our real concern is that if our customers don’t buy from us then they’re going to buy from potentially illegally-logged sources.” Ta Ann

    I presume they mean from their parent company in Indonesia?

  23. Barnaby Drake

    December 22, 2011 at 12:24 am

    ‘There is therefore something deeply suspicious about the Tasmanian subsidiary which has reportedly made 5 years of consecutive financial losses in Tasmania amounting to $17.8M despite receiving $10.3M in taxpayer subsidies to establish its mills, benefited from $23M in FT investments at its mills and been guaranteed long term wood supply contracts by FT for logs at less than the cost of production.’

    That totals $30.3 Million dollars direct loss to Tasmanian Treasury to date, which has meant that we, the taxpayers have to foot this bill. Ta Ann claiming it made a loss also adds in to this in that fact that they do not pay taxes from a loss, and I believe that can actually ask for a rebate(?)

    So, if they are making a loss, how are they paying for their allocation of timber, and why do they want to continue with this operation for the next 20 years? Is Forestry, despite its less-than-cost sales to them, and the ensuing environmental destruction, actually being paid? Or is this also commercial-in-confidence? And above all, why, if this is a burden on the people of Tasmania, are Abetz, Colbeck and Green so anxious to pursue this path. What is it they aren’t saying and why are they so keen to betray the people they are supposed to be representing?

    The labour is largely Indonesian and that hardly benefits Tasmania. Very few local jobs there!

    One wonders, is this another ‘Gunns deal’ where money passes into party coffers in exchange for favours? I can think of no other reason, especially when Bryan Green writes to Ta Ann’s customers to state the government is backing this company, despite its reputation and reported poor financial performance. (Note – Mark Poynter. ‘There is a long history of such international misrepresentation and I suspect this is no different.’)

    Nothing like backing a loser with our money!

  24. john hayward

    December 21, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Who tipped off International Plywood that Bryan Green’s adopted baby from Sarawak has a rap sheet longer than the Road to Nowhere? Wreckers, that’s who.

    Ken Jeffreys had it right when he fingered the Huon Environment Centre and Markets for Change as running an extortion racket. Why else would anyone be worried about saving a bunch of trees?

    Someone needs to invite IP to a long dinner and tell them that Tassie piracy is 100% legal.

    John Hayward

  25. Steven Jurgeit

    December 21, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    What a good read and outcome! Well done to Markets For Change and the Huon Valley Environment Centre. Well done also to International Plywood’s managing director, Ian Attwood, for not allowing Tasmanian forest industries and politicians to ‘pull the wool over his eyes’.

    I shudder when I think of the ostrich-like vision of those like Will Hodgman, Senator Colbeck and the ever-embarrassing and bumbling Bryan Green. They and Ken Jeffreys and co need to get their heads around the concept of social, environmental and economic responsibility.

  26. Pete Godfrey

    December 21, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Senator Colbeck is just playing weird politics, his party didn’t want any conservation of rescue packages for a defunct industry so therefore the IGA is a dud.
    The IGA is a dud, the HCV forests identified were supposed to be put into immediate informal reserves in December last year.
    So far nothing has happened except the usual suspects have been paid out for dubious claims.
    No workers, contractors, fallers, road builders etc have received any money. No conservation outcomes have been met.
    The agreement died last year.
    The international community have already shown years ago that they don’t like being lied to. They don’t believe spin and political claptrap.
    It is time that the industry here was totally reformed, that by products were not the main game. We have just switched from logging for pulpwood for the last 40 years to now logging for Peelers.
    The international buyers are saying not good enough.
    Just as giving trinkets made from special species timbers to the Japanese customers by Mr Abetz was a failure, any flunkies assurances from Mr Green will fail.
    The solution is that the industry has to change. We are logging our State Forests on an unsustainable rotation of between 35 and 67 years. The high figure was for last year and is only high because the markets collapsed.
    The average is around 40 years.
    Not Good Enough.

  27. john hawkins

    December 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    No FSC, No sales,

    Ask Gunns!

  28. Mark Poynter

    December 21, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    #4 Ben

    “Here we go again – environmentalists show overseas customers what is happening in Tasmania, the customers see the potential damage to their brand and withdraw their business, and Forestry Tasmania and its mates all scream and rant about “misrepresentation”.

    Ok, then Ben, how about Birch and Webber provide us with the presentation that they used to convince this company that Tasmanian forestry was so bad. Then we could judge whether or not it was ‘misrepresentation’. Fat chance!

    There is a long history of such international misrepresentation and I suspect this is no different.

    One episode that springs to mind was the 2003 BBC film ‘Paper Tiger’ which was eventually discredited, with the BBC forced to admit in in print in the London Times that Tasmania’s forests weren’t disappearing, and that the majority of forests were already in reserves or wouldn’t be logged. This film was produced on the advice of local environmentalists of the same ilk as Webber and Birch.

    Then there was the Rainforest Action Network in March 2006 who conducted protests at Australian embassies and consulates in USA, Canada, Japan and the UK. RAN’s Tasmanian spokesperson, David Lee said that ‘the situation on the ground in Tasmania defies belief for anyone who respects democracy and values the rule of law’ and that it is ‘turning paradise into a Hell on Earth’.

    Just a tad of misrepresentation there, and of course no mention of how much Tasmanian forest there is and how much is and isn’t logged, or that regenerates. I would be flabbagasted if Webber and Birch mentioned such critical facts, and I would believe them if they said they did because it would undermine their cause? So, misrepresentation it is.

    So, why do companies like International Plywood go along with this? Probably because they are so flint-eyed and steely in pursuit of profits that it is easier to opt out rather than have to face the potential of economic blackmail arising from being drawn into a ‘controversy’. Nothing more than that, certainly no ‘save-the-world’ idealism and no acknowledgement that Birch and Webber have convinced them of real problems.

  29. Rod

    December 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    The same thing will happen in the unlikely event of the pulp mill ever being built. Its produce will be unsaleable and any joint venture partner will be tarred by the same brush.

  30. Frank Strie

    December 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Again, this is to the three political leaders in Hobart and Canberra.
    Also directly aimed at Richard Colbeck, Bryan Green and Jeremy Rockliff:

    Whilst I have a lot of other urgent work to do outside, here one more indicator as to how far off the positive course Tasmania has drifted over the last two decades.
    I am listen to your media statements and it just sounds like more of the same old confusing make believe.

    These are just a few key statements from a clean energy seminar in Alberta, Canada:

    “Revolutions are about confidence, leadership and courage not fear. We must push back the barriers and listen with an open mind. Innovation and ingenuity can achieve outstanding results. We are here because clean energy matters to everyone. Once we define what we mean by that, we need a strategy to get there,” said Dr. David Lewin, Vice Chair of the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC).

    Keynote Speaker Jeremy Rifkin, leading expert on workforce, energy, and the environment, spoke via Skype to the audience about the intricacies of this Clean Energy Revolution. …
    This economic revolution is essentially the “energization revolution of the people” and this new vision will create a new democratic economy. Changing the infrastructure is crucial, as it requires a shift in consciousness. We will produce our own energy and share it worldwide through an Energy Internet. Storage technology will solve the problem when the sun isn’t shining.
    Energy companies will be running the Energy Internet. “We cannot separate ourselves from the rhythms of nature. Energy becomes part of us again when we integrate it. Everything we do, we leave an ecological footprint. I know of no other moment in history like this. We have to believe we can do it. And most important we have to believe we have the imagination to do it.”

    One highlight was the seminar Transforming Canada’s Forestry Sector – Bio-energy and Bio-products facilitated by Catherine Cobden, Vice President, Economics and Regulatory Affairs for the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC). The Association received their certification in 2001.
    The rivalry that once existed with the environmentalists turned into a positive collaborative business relationship that led to a carbon neutral commitment by 2007 and the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement by 2010. No longer is it an “us versus them” mentality for these two groups and it has definitely paid off. Canada’s forestry sector had annual revenues of $57 billion in 2010 and it is projected to reach an estimated $200 billion by 2015. Embracing the concept of sustainability has positively ignited new opportunities for the Canadian forestry industry.

    Director Dr. Alan Knight facilitated the Virgin Earth Challenge session. Calgary was chosen to present the Virgin Earth Challenge because of the entrepreneurial spirit here, especially where fiscal management and engineering is concerned which makes Calgary a perfect place to do business.
    The purpose of the Challenge is to establish a safe technology and business to capture carbon from thin air. …

    These organizations bring expertise and solutions from a broad range of areas that includes air capture, biochar, bio-energy with carbon capture and storage, enhanced weathering on land, and land management.
    Dr. Alan Knight concluded, “What started as a competition will end in an international collaboration with these 11 companies.”

    The Opening Keynote speaker on the third day was Ian Goldin, Director, Visionary & Economist of Oxford University. “The future of clean energy is the future of the world. There is a level of connectivity like no other the world has ever seen. I believe this is just the beginning of this renaissance. The measures of restrictiveness are going down rapidly while the measures of openness are increasing.” Goldin added, “It is a battle of ideas. This is about putting science together with finance.”
    He praised Alberta for its innovation. “The technologies being researched and implemented here in Alberta are remarkable.” He concluded that in the future, “politicians and CEOs will be followers and driven by the people, the consumers.” …

    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/316453#ixzz1hEascU17

    (please) listen to what the international market is telling us: CHANGE!
    How much longer will they be ignored?

  31. PB

    December 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    HVEC’s comprehensive report into Ta Ann Tasmania’s malpractices can be found at the following link where it can also be downloaded as a pdf or txt file:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/72216112/Ta-Ann-Final-Report-2011-Web

    Ta Ann Tasmania is a subsidiary of the Ta Ann Group which is one of Malaysia’s biggest forest product businesses reputedly worth an estimated US$1.6 billion.

    There is therefore something deeply suspicious about the Tasmanian subsidiary which has reportedly made 5 years of consecutive financial losses in Tasmania amounting to $17.8M despite receiving $10.3M in taxpayer subsidies to establish its mills, benefited from $23M in FT investments at its mills and been guaranteed long term wood supply contracts by FT for logs at less than the cost of production.

    It is high time that the ATO audited this company’s financial operations. Anyone who shares the same concerns can report them in confidence to the ATO:
    http://www.ato.gov.au/corporate/content.aspx?doc=/content/30332.htm&pc=001/001/008/007&mnu=0&mfp;=&st;=&cy;=

  32. VoiceofSanity

    December 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Editor’s note: comment deleted – see the sections in the TT code on tone and legal issues http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php/pages/legalbits

  33. Frank Strie

    December 21, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    On behalf of TWFF, may I suggest to Richard Colbeck and Jeremy Rockliff and others interested in a better future for our Community: Please stop the negative rant and instead try to come up with some proper constructive ideas to turn the negative into a positive vision.”
    Tasmania is a small Island that has more to offer than flogging our forests for peeler plywood or industrial pallets or other bulk.
    Change your arguments and you may see change in the situation.
    Forget the TasLibs 2010 back to the future (13 point) propaganda plan from last year because it will simply not work.
    I agree with the responsible private forest managers who apply inter-generational responsible management.

    Further, rather than to keep barking consider to approach another group involved in international debate ‘Climate for Ideas’ as they claim that their “goal is to ensure that institutions use the very best science to inform decisions and policy.”

    http://www.climateforideas.org/?q=node/4

    Climate for Ideas carries out research in the public interest. We advise non-governmental organizations, companies and other interested institutions about the climate and forests, biodiversity and forests and the paper and forest products industry. Our goal is to ensure that institutions use the very best science to inform decisions and policy.

    Our research activities fall into the following categories:

    Resource Risk Assessment
    — Sourcing wood and paper products has implications for the climate and the protection of biodiversity. We can help institutions analyse their products chains of custody and help develop policies around sourcing.

    Carbon Footprints
    — In an era when climate change has become a major focus of public policy and institutions understand the need to reduce their impact on the climate, ‘Carbon Footprints’ can help these institutions understand the degree of their impact and where in their production, distribution and product disposal systems the impacts are greatest.

    Policy Development and Analysis
    — In order tackle issues of producing or sourcing sustainable products, institutions require policies appropriate to their activities that will guide their actions. We can help institutions develop these policies that will reduce their impact on the environment, reduce their Carbon Footprint, and ensure the elimination of product or input sources that might endanger biodiversity.
    ============================================
    Regarding The action taken by International Plywood

    Just consider the consequences if they would not realised the reality of Forestry Tasmania’s practices!

    International Plywood win “Plywood Trader of the Year” at the 2011 TTJ awards
    http://www.plywooduk.com/awards.php

  34. Gordon Bradbury

    December 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I thought the purpose of the Australian Forest Standard(AFS) was to give customers (eg. International Plywood) confidence that the timber they were buying came from sustainably managed, profitable forests (eg. Ta Ann and Forestry Tasmania). So why isn’t International Plywood convinced that the AFS is the last word?

    This whole story should be about whether forest certification is doing its job. Instead the industry, the Government and the politicians chose to ignore this failure and instead fire a few more rounds in the forestry wars.

    Either the AFS is flawed (ie. subject to lobbying the loopholes), or it is a marketing failure, or both. To then go and blame the lobbyists for this failure is rather pointless. As I say, certification either works or it doesn’t. Clearly the latter in this case.

  35. Ben

    December 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Here we go again – environmentalists show overseas customers what is happening in Tasmania, the customers see the potential damage to their brand and withdraw their business, and Forestry Tasmania and its mates all scream and rant about “misrepresentation”.

    This is the same as the Japanese woodchip companies all over again, and its ridiculous.

    Ridiculous because the customers are making their own decisions based on their own opinions about tasmania’s logging industry and the damage that any association will do to the customer’s brand.

    Ridiculous because the businessmen making these decisions to withdraw their business are some of the hardest-headed traders in the global community; these are not the sort of people who would be hoodwinked by a bunch of hippies and greenies, these are flinty-eyed hard-hearted business types who make their decisions based solely on what is best for their companies. Nothing else. Those who argue that these businessmen are being hoodwinked are actually insulting the very same people that they want back as customers. Ridiculous.

    And its all even more ridiculous when we consider that Forestry Tasmania well and truly knows that its current logging activities in forests identified for conservation under the IGA are enraging conservationists, so why are they surprised that Ta Ann’s products derived from these logging activities are now being scrutinised by the international business community, and it does not like what it sees. Again. Because this has all happened years ago with the Japanese woodchip companies.

    Ta Ann are being hoist on FT’s petard of intransigence and they really have nobody to blame but themselves, and FT.

  36. salamander

    December 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    World Wildlife Fund doesn’t accept PEFC because it is much the same as AFS, Australia’s own industry-driven rubbish standard that does nothing to protect forests.

    State government “shock horror” at the news of these revelations shows how faint their support really is for ending logging of high conservation areas. What is totally inexcusable is that the logging is not even supportable on financial grounds, with the industry contributing to the impoverishment of Tasmania.

    As for Senator Colbeck, he is just trotting out all the industry-fed reasons for continuing with business as usual – like a baby, in one end and out the other.

  37. john hawkins

    December 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Colbeck your mates at Gunns have got the money and their debt to FT has been paid by the long suffering taxpayer who also happens to pay your increased salary.

    Remember you are a Public Servant we the people are your Masters not Gunns.

    Now you want the deal to protect the forests scrapped.I ask will you get Gunns to refund the money then scrap the deal?

    That is not the wish of Abetz, Tas Inc and the Libs whose Party is funded by Gunns?

  38. Squizzy

    December 21, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    What is clear from this story is that just like Japanese Whaling industry, Tasmanian logging industries spin about its practices and its products only have currency as far as the Tasmanian Borders.
    As does the clout of its political servants like Richard Colbeck who are ‘nobodies’ outside the Tasmanian political bubble.
    As does the clout of the logging industry spin doctors like Jeffreys and the other glorified bogans whose guff and twaddle is only taken seriously by the cowed Tasmanian media.
    Tasmanians may be punch drunk and desensitized to the loggers spin but the rest of the world sees it for what it is.
    Another win to the kids in Koala suits over the big tough loggers. Ha ha ha.

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