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


Don’t bother coming back after Christmas. The meaning of Clause 27. Gunns Ltd plumbs new depths

Three Wise (?) Men: From left, Bob Gordon, Adrian Kloeden, Paul Lennon … ABC picture, HERE

Will there still be a place in the world for Forestry Tasmania FT as a GBE after reality bites?

FT has struggled with cash flow and profitability and now it’s selling some of its more commercial activities. All the calls for FT to be restructured may be unnecessary. The in-house Voluntary Liquidator Bob Gordon, like his counterpart at Gunns appears to be doing just that, as assets are sold in an attempt to survive.

But is FT better prepared to face the future? Given that we will become more dependent on plantations, has FT’s management deftly and skilfully positioned FT to meet the challenges?

It is not the easiest task in the world to try and isolate the contribution made to FT’s bottom line by its plantations versus the contribution of the native forest segment. The Auditor General worked on his report into FT’s performance for 3 years and wasn’t able to shed much light on the issue. FT’s accounts do not provide a segment breakup to enable a reader to better understand the financials.

Never have so many inquiries yielded so little information. The only $ info on a segment basis is in the Sustainability Report which lists the estimated Mill Door Landed Value for timber products from State Forests. But these only give a rough clue as they don’t reconcile with FT’s financials. The estimated mill door prices aren’t necessarily what FT received and recorded in its financials.

The 2011 financials lists FT’s revenue from forest sales at $135 million. But over half is reimbursement for the costs of harvesting and transport to the mill door (or the wharf).The stumpage value of sales was only about $55 million. And 80% of that is from native forests. The reminder is from plantations. Less than half the plantation revenue, which in this instance excludes the JV with GMO, is from hardwoods. Employee costs and overheads eat up all of the $55 million, so there’s nothing there to fund any capital outlays. FT’s woes have been so obvious for so long it’s a source of wonderment that the Government has been so slack. And now there isn’t any money its options are few so FT is selling assets to survive.

The size of the plantation estate managed by FT and its Joint Venture partners has shown little change over the past few financial years, at just over 50,000 hectares for both softwoods and hardwoods.


New plantings have declined in each of the past 4 calendar years as shown below. The 2011 plantings only reflect a 6 month period. Thus far only about 13,000 hectares pursuant to TCFA arrangements have been planted over the last 5 years. The remaining 3,000 required hectares are awaiting suitable land.


At 30th June 2011, FT owned/managed softwood (Pinus radiata) plantations, of 52,670 hectares including the 46,000 hectares Joint Venture with GMO which has just been sold to New Forests, leaving about 7,000 hectares, roughly a third of which is a JV arrangement with Norske Skog.

The current hardwood plantation estate involving FT (i.e. excluding private forests on private land) of 55,960 hectares comprises approximately 85 per cent Eucalyptus nitens and 15 per cent Eucalyptus globulus. With all those E.nitens it’s little wonder FT is such an unrepentant supporter of the pulp mill. Only 30,000 hectares of hardwood plantation trees are owned outright by FT, the rest is caught up in JV arrangements, MISs via Tassie Tree Trusts and 14,830 hectares owned privately but growing on Crown land. The latter probably includes trees owned by Gunns and Gunns’ JV tree partners, which may change hands soon as Gunns follows the same pattern as FT by selling assets in a desperate attempt to fend off the bailiff while pretending to be preparing the ground for the pulp mill.

The breakup of FT’s plantation estate at 30th June 2011 is outlined in the following table.


It’s a pretty sorry tale. The softwood estate is all but gone. The hardwood estate will undoubtedly undergo ownership changes in the near future. The 30,000 hectares of hardwood plantations owned outright by FT is a possibility, even the underlying land as well.

It isn’t clear to the writer whether the State will gain any return from its continued ownership of the 46,000 hectares of pine plantation land. Under JV arrangements which take many forms, the landowner doesn’t normally receive a rent payment but rather the crop proceeds are split in such a way to reflect the different contributions of the JV partners. But with the sale by the JV partners of their JV assets, the Crown is simply a landlord. What will its rental stream be?

Of course if one were to accept the value of land as determined by FT’s valuer, the plantation land has a zero value. Perhaps rent is zero? That would make it a bargain purchase. Whose rent is it anyway? FT’s? They don’t own the land. The Crown? They could do with a cash boost.

If the pulp mill doesn’t proceed then it’s back to the drawing board for the State’s hardwood plantation estate to try to map out a Plan B. Or maybe the recent Strategic Review has laid out a path? We’ll never know if they never release it. But given the current plantation size, age and species, there won’t be enough cash to fund replanting. So what will FT do?

If the pulp mill does proceed what happens to FT’s hardwood plantations may well depend on what happens to Gunns’ plantation land and trees? Will the latter become part of the pulp mill JV or will they be owned by a third party? The 2011 financial accounts for Gunns included $654 million of Tasmanian land and plantations as assets for resale yet the Chairman’s AGM address 3 months later referred to the company’s hardwood plantation forest and processing assets with a carrying value of over $700 million as forming part of the equity base of the pulp mill project. So who knows?

It still seems to be a buyer’s market for large parcels of trees and plantation land as the prices are well below those of a few years ago.

For instance when Gunns bought Auspine three years ago, 45,000 hectares of land and pine plantations were booked at $435 million. Then Gunns offloaded 33,000 hectares of trees only for $173 million to GMO clocking a much needed profit of $23 million. That’s just over $5,000 per hectare for the trees.

Compare this to about $3,400 per hectare to be paid by New Forests for the FT JV trees.

Gunns thought they had a buyer, rumoured to be GMO, for the remaining Green Triangle trees plus all the 45,000 hectares of land ex Auspine at $107 million. The deadline for completion of the sale kept passing. The latest ASX announcement is that the deal has fallen over. The Australian Financial Review (AFR) reported a new buyer was found to take not only the remaining trees and land from Gunns for a reported $120 million, but also the 33,000 hectares of trees from GMO. AFR suggested New Forests is the buyer.

The figures seem to imply a price of about $3,400 per hectare for the trees, similar to what it will pay FT, and about $1,700 per hectare for the land, roughly the same price as New Forests paid as part of the syndicate with Alberta Investment Management Corp which bought all Great Southern’s land from the Liquidator McGrathNicol two years ago.

By way of a footnote the profit from the sale of the first tranche of pine trees was an illusion as Gunns will end up blowing about $140 million on Auspine land and trees over about a 3 year period, a 30% loss of value.

Prices for hardwood plantations however will be vastly different. Much less. The age profile of FT’s plantation is younger and dominated by the selected strains of E. Nitens var firewoodii.

The proceeds of the sale of FT’s 50% share of the softwood JV of $78 million will be used in the first instance to pay off the $40 million owing to Tascorp because FT can no longer afford to pay the interest on the loan. The remaining funds will be much needed to replenish the TCFA cash tin as over $30 million is yet to be spent on the remaining 3,000 hectares of plantation establishment mentioned above plus all the pruning and thinning as prescribed by the TCFA in order to achieve what one G L’Estrange described as “the most expensive plantations in the world.”

The cash boost from the sale of the softwood JV share will undoubtedly help FT pay the bills for the next couple of years. But is it a sustainable set up? Hardly. FT still has a $120 million liability in the form of an unfunded superannuation commitment, which it can’t service from operations.

Prompting by Ruth Forrest’s Leg Co committee investigation into FT’s performance finally persuaded FT that they needed to fall into line with other State Government entities and start reporting some of the costs of the unfunded superannuation as operating expenses. This has meant that FT has had an operating loss for the last 5 years, when prior years’ financials are correctly restated. The Auditor General restated 4 years worth of figures in his report to Parliament.

And if the Auditor General was more insistent about including some of the costs of the trees that have been sold, as operating rather than non-operating items, the situation would be far worse. Had that been done FT would clearly be seen for what it is, a basket case beyond salvation.

By incorrectly calculating operating profit Messrs Gordon and Kloeden have been allowed to pretend FT was profitable, when it clearly wasn’t. The entire FT Board with as impressive array of post nominals as one is ever likely to see, failed to bring a switched on awareness to the table. FT’s woes could have been addressed years ago with a more accurate set of accounts. Alas, it’s now too late. The Australian Institute of Company Directors to which FT Directors mostly belong should run a remedial course on understanding published financial statements.

FT is still living in a world of complete unreality if some of its publications are any guide. FT was particularly selective as to what bits of the Auditor General’s Report into FT to include in its 2011 Stewardship Report. One gets a different picture, for instance, if one carefully reads what the normally mild mannered and reticent Auditor General said in April 2009 but not reported till quite recently (and things have since worsened):

“Profits have trended downwards since 1995, mainly because of a substantial decline in softwood revenues. Other than softwood, quantities sold had shown a small increase, prices had fallen and costs had not changed substantially.

The return on assets has been consistently poor. Analysis suggested Forestry’s assets were over-valued, but at recent levels of profit, return on assets would only have been reasonable if no value was assigned to the biological assets (trees) or land improvements (roads).

Without stronger financial performance, investment in roads and plantations over the past 15 years will not yield future benefits to Forestry and arguably should be expensed rather than capitalised.

On that basis, it can be argued that ordinary operations from 1994 to 2008 have yielded little profit. It also follows that dividends paid had been entirely funded from abnormal receipts such as Commonwealth compensation money.”

That’s it in a nutshell. Not much profit since Methuselah was a boy, bludging off the Feds, the vehicle fleet pawned, the softwood resource sold. Hang on to your seat Grandma, you could be next. The plantation hardwood resource won’t be cash flow positive for a while, if ever, and the native forests industry will be unable to sustain the current workforce of 400+, the unfunded superannuation liabilities and the community service obligations. FT is shedding its commercial operations and the State is going to have to pick up the tab for the unfunded super and the CSOs, so do we really need to interpose a GBE? It seems a ridiculously inappropriate structure.

Maybe the best course of action is to pack up your empty lunch box, Bob, and go home. It’s almost knock off time.

And don’t bother coming back after Christmas.

First published: 19.12.11 4:32 am

Rushed Transport Subsidy Lacked Due Diligence

Kim Booth MP
Greens Forestry spokesperson

The Tasmanian Greens today (Sun, Dec 18) said documents obtained through a Right to Information request revealed an alarming lack of due diligence behind the Forestry Minister Bryan Green’s decision to pay a $1.1 million transport subsidy to Forestry Tasmania in October this year.

Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that within only a few days of Forestry Tasmania making its funding request to the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources, the Minister had rushed through the payment in full, apparently without asking any questions.

“What this shows is that Forestry Tasmania can simply thrust out its hand to demand more public money with the flimsiest of reasons, and the Minister will suddenly be falling over himself to find the money,” Mr Booth said.

“The Minister must reveal what due diligence, if any, was undertaken before he decided to drain $1.1 million from the public purse, because it appears from these documents that there was none.”

“We have a situation in Tasmania where the sick and infirm are literally queued up for hospital treatment, and Forestry Tasmania is still being allowed to reach into the public purse and take what it wants.”

“In this unseemly haste and lack of due diligence to provide this money, we also now learn that Forestry Tasmania has only used a part of the money that it had claimed was so desperately needed.”

“We also note that the Minister has also shelled out money to transport high value and minor species timbers to meet a supply shortfall at Britton Brothers sawmill in Smithton, which has nothing to do with Triabunna being shut.”

“If industry players cannot cover the costs of transporting these logs to either Bell Bay or the north-west, then the logs should not be getting cut down in the first place.”

“The Greens do not support this use of taxpayer money to keep on propping up patently unviable operation like Forestry Tasmania, particularly when the operation already has outstanding debts of $38 million at the end of the financial year which it hasn’t recouped.”

“Forestry Tasmania, by interfering in the Tasmanian timber market, have now driven the price of the product so low that they can’t even afford the diesel to carry the logs to the wharf, let alone return any money to the public purse through royalties for the timber.”

Download: Documents obtained under Right to Information:
NB: TT couldn’t upload two of the documents. No doubt they will be available online at the Greens website: HERE

Senator for Tasmania
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry and Science
19 December, 2011

Schedulers report released

Reports by Independent Expert Schedulers confirm that at least 34 coupes within 430,000 hectares of Tasmanian forest nominated for further assessment will be needed to meet contractual wood supply requirements to February next year.

The Federal Government has delayed the release of the independent reports because they contradict the advice provided by Jonathan West, the head of the Tasmanian forests assessment panel, Coalition Forestry spokesman Richard Colbeck said.

“The Senate recently ordered the Government to release reports of the independent schedulers. The Government responded saying the reports had not been completed and would be released when they were,” Senator Colbeck said.

“The first of these reports (download below) had been completed and it was called for by name in the Senate motion.

“The Government still has not released this report, so I am doing so today in a bid to restore balance to current debates about wood supply contracts.

“The report shows that at least 25 coupes would need to be accessed in the period from August to the end of December.

“Twice the Government sent the report back to the independent schedulers. During that period four coupes were harvested, so subsequent reports indicated 21 coupes were required to meet contracts, confirming the initial findings.

“The reality is that the Government did not want to contradict the advice they had taken from Jonathan West, the head of the assessment panel, who suggested no coupes would be required from the 430,000 hectares nominated for further assessment.

“Now the assessment process that was supposed to be completed by the end of December hasn’t even started, and its completion has been extended to the end of February. The independent schedulers report indicates a total of 34 coupes will be required for harvest in that period.

“The sad reality is that this sham process will leave the Tasmanian forest industry even less sustainable and under more pressure.

“Gunns Ltd’s exit from native forests provided an opportunity to reduce the intensity of harvest across the State, giving better environmental, forestry and economic outcomes but the Greens, Labor and the environmental groups could not accept that.

“The Greens, Labor and the environmental groups are instead intent on squeezing what is left of the industry into an ever smaller area which will, most likely, result in higher harvest intensity.

“Last week there were more protests in the forests, confirming again that Tasmania has been sold a pup with the sham of so-called “peace talks”.

“Environmental groups repeatedly show they are not interested in compromise, they just want everything their own way – regardless of the facts.

“The protests won’t stop and there will be no peace, the Greens have already told us they want it all when it comes to killing off the native forestry sector.

“This process has been a sham from the start and it is time it was stopped,” Senator Colbeck said.

TT technol would not accept the report. It may be available online. But read what Forestry says: HERE

If Coupes Remain, Compensation is Triggered

Nick McKim MP
Greens Leader

The Tasmanian Greens today (Mon, Dec 19) called for the Commonwealth to honour the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA), signed by both Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Premier Lara Giddings in August this year, which states that compensation would be triggered in order to secure the immediate protection of the identified 430, 000 hectares of high conservation value forests, in the event that logging coupes could not be rescheduled.

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said that the IGA explicitly states that should the independent experts identify that that logging coupes cannot be rescheduled in order to maintain the interim protection for the 430, 000, then the ‘Commonwealth will compensate the contract holder for the value of lost profits and unavoidable costs’.

“The test is now on Prime Minister Julia Gillard as to whether she will front up and deliver what is there in black and white in Clause 27 of the IGA which she signed in August of this year,” Mr McKim said.

“This potential situation was for-seen at the time the IGA was signed, which is why it outlines a two-step process with the first step being independent reschedulers, followed by the second step of compensation.”

“It is pretty telling when Senator Colbeck, and others who wish to push their anti-conservation agenda, rush to point to a draft reschedulers report, yet fail to publicise the next step contained in the IGA which is the provision of compensation.”

“The Greens have been adamant that the IGA’s conservation and industry restructuring goals must be delivered concurrently, but so far that has failed to occur. The long awaited contractors exit package, which we supported, is well underway yet the first conservation goal of the immediate protection of the 430, 000 hectares has yet to be delivered.”

“Yet still we see industry acolytes trying to further erode the IGA’s conservation commitments. Ironically, these are usually the same people who argue that conservationists try to ‘move the goal-posts’ when clearly they are the ones who are trying to rewrite the IGA by omission.”

“Prime Minister Gillard must live up to her signature on the IGA and deliver,” Mr McKim said.

Mr McKim also said that while the Greens were not signatories to either the Forests Principles process or the IGA, they gave in-principle support to its dual goals of protecting high conservation vale forests and restructuring the timber industry onto a viable footing.

Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement:

Clause 27: “During the independent verification process, in the event that Forestry Tasmania reports that it cannot meet contractual requirements from production resources outside the nominated 430, 000 hectares, the Governments will undertake the following steps. First, an independent expert will be jointly appointed by the Governments to review scheduling and other relevant data and attempt to reschedule harvesting activities so as to meet the requirements of contracts and maintain the interim protection of the 430, 000 hectares. In the event that the independent expert concludes that it is impossible to achieve this through rescheduling on a reasonable commercial basis or through sourcing alternative supplies, the Commonwealth will compensate the contract holder for the value of lost profits and unavoidable costs. Any such costs will be met, in the first instance, from within the $7 million payment in financial year 2011-12 referred to in Clause 35.” Signed by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and Premier Lara Giddings, 7th August 2011.

Huon Valley Environment Centre’s spokesperson Jenny Weber

Forest promise broken to feed Ta Ann

A government report released under Right to Information today (Mon, Dec 19) has revealed that Ta Ann’s veneer mills are the major driver of logging in Tasmania’s high conservation value forests.

Furthermore the report has revealed that Ta Ann is receiving 65,000 cubic metres more timber per annum than previously reported to the Tasmanian public. The company are receiving 330 000 cubic metres per annum from Tasmania’s forests.

‘This report is official recognition that Ta Ann, a Malaysian timber company, is responsible for the ongoing destruction of Tasmania’s forests,’ Huon Valley Environment Centre’s spokesperson Jenny Weber said.

‘Page nine of the Rescheduler’s Report explains that the supply of peeler billets for Ta Ann is an important driver for the harvest schedule that includes logging in thousands of hectares of forest which should be protected today,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘This company demands a large quantity of timber, and its requirements are responsible for preventing the protection of our forests,’ Jenny Weber said.

Senator Christine Milne: Under IGA Logging in 25 Coupes Must Stop and Clause 27 Implemented: Greens

“Ever since the Intergovernmental Agreement on Tasmania’s forests was signed, logging has continued in the 430,000 hectares which both Prime Minister Gillard and Premier Giddings said would be protected,” Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne said today (Mon Dec 19).

“The area was supposed to go immediately into informal reserves whilst an assessment was done about whether or not contracts could be met from outside that area and if not then compensation would be paid.”

“There was never any agreement that logging would be permitted to continue in the informally reserved areas. Prime Minister Gillard is ignoring Clause 27.”

“Already at least five coupes have been logged and another 25, amounting to an area of more than 1000 hectares, are scheduled according to the report released today.”

“This is wrong and a complete abuse of the IGA.”

“Clause 27 is specific and there in black and white for all to see.”

27. During the independent verification process, in the event that Forestry Tasmania reports that it cannot meet contractual requirements from production resources outside the nominated 430,000
hectares, the Governments will undertake the following steps. First, an independent expert will be jointly appointed by the Governments to review scheduling and other relevant data and attempt to
reschedule harvesting activities so as to meet the requirements of contracts and maintain the interim protection of the 430,000 hectares. In the event that the independent expert concludes that it is impossible to achieve this through rescheduling on a reasonable commercial basis or through sourcing alternative supplies, the Commonwealth will compensate the contract holder for the value of lost profits and unavoidable costs. Any such costs will be met, in the first instance, from within the $7 million payment in financial year 2011‐12 referred to in Clause 35.

“Which part of Clause 27 does the Prime Minister, Premier Giddings, Bob Gordon or Senator Colbeck not understand?”

“Instead of accusing the environment movement of breaching the agreement, Senator Colbeck should be joining the Greens in calling for the Commonwealth to honour the agreement and implement Clause 27.”

As Gunns Ltd Share Price reaches an all-time low

• Tomorrow: Validity of Pulp Mill permits challenged by Pulp the Mill

Members of Pulp the Mill will be in Launceston’s Magistrate’s Court tomorrow – Thursday 22nd December – at 2.15pm for PtM’s substantive case against Tasmanian timber company Gunns Limited.

The hearing is expected to take up to two hours.

PtM is challenging the legality of work currently being conducted on the Long Reach site, that only began two days before Tasmanian state permits expired.

The permits included a clause that stated ‘substantial commencement’ on the project must have been made.

The permits expired on 30 August 2011.

PtM filed a complaint on 7 September. An initial hearing took place in Hobart on 14 October, when a request was made for further court appearances to be held in Launceston.

– Anne Layton-Bennett, Stephani Taylor

• Dr Grove need not worry too much

Dr Simon Grove of Forestry Tasmania (Mercury letters, 20/12) is concerned that tree top protester, Miranda Gibson, is sending a hypocritical message by using timber to build her structure on the so-called ‘Observer-Tree’ (www.observertree.org) near the Florentine Valley.

He need not worry too much. We visited ‘Camp Flozza’, nearby the site this last Sunday. Forestry Tasmania have been roading into the forest, there are large piles of wood, simply discarded, all along the road, no shortage of construction material at all.

It has been well documented that unconscionable wastage of valuable commercial grade timber, including specialty species such as celery top pine, myrtle, and sassafras, has been a feature of Forestry Tasmania’s clearfelling and burning regimes in our publicly owned forests.

Coupe TN044B, home to the Observer-Tree, has extremely steep terrain, requiring sky cable logging. With a history of landslips, the clearing of such slopes will cause irreparable damage to the soil and creeks.

Dr Grove, a forest ecologist, has more in common with Miranda Gibson than he may realise.

Miranda, along with fellow forest activist Lily Leahy, has certainly not been wasting her time in the Upper Florentine Valley. They have written an excellent flora and fauna guide to the area they are defending.

In the introduction to the guide Gibson and Leahy make the point that plant and animal species are interdependent in a complex web of relationships. They go on to point out that “this century we face mass extinctions on a global scale and maintaining biodiversity in these unique ecosystems is crucial”.

The guide is printed on 100% post consumer recycled paper.

Thankyou to all those people from Still Wild, Still Threatened and The Florentine Protection Society who continue to try and protect these important areas from the destruction of clearfelling.

Frank Nicklason and Helen Burnet,
North Hobart
Elizabeth Perey,

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Robin Halton

    December 28, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Re my 66 So I am blocked from further discussion while (other idiotic comments) are given the free range?

  2. Robin Halton

    December 28, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Editor’s note: comment deleted see TT code point 1 & 2 http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php/pages/legalbits

  3. Russell

    December 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Re #64
    On the face of it Robin, considering what FT and Gunns have done to the industry, and you admitting to having taken a personal part in it, I believe you are the one who understands little about the reality of the industry and who put it there.

    Who started the bushfire over in the northern Tamar Valley last year, Robin?

    Mark Poynter! Now I know for sure you don’t understand anything about how the industry should be run.

  4. Robin Halton

    December 26, 2011 at 10:21 am

    #60 Barnaby and #61 and #62Russell. Lets face it neither of you have much idea about Forestry operational matters. Neither of you want to understand the admin. and structure of fire protection in Tasmania as well as what sort of options could be put in place in a possible restructure which could combine both the resources of Forestry and Parks as both are trained and practice somewhat similar fire protection measures.

    It is absolute rubbish to suggest that the practice of FRB starts most bushfires

    I would prefer to hear from the likes of Mark Poynter who by his knowledge has a good understanding on Forestry and Natural Resource Management.

    Editor’s note: edited to comply with the TT code re tone. See http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php/pages/legalbits

  5. John Wade

    December 26, 2011 at 9:49 am

    “No point in waiting for a Mega fire to destroy the lot.”, we should be gradually destroying the lot ourselves, not let a mega fire have all the fun!

  6. Russell

    December 26, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Re #59
    “If FT loses its commercial edge then future timber assets still require protection and maintenance.”

    FT doesn’t have a “commercial edge” even when they give the resource away.

    “If the Forests Minister Bryan Green had a brain in his head some of that IGA money should be spread among FT and PWS to specifically protect existing National Parks ,Reserves and State Forest.”

    you’d both know he’s not allowed to use IGA money for whatever he wanted.

    “No point in waiting for a Mega fire to destroy the lot.”

    Fire scaremongering again. It seems you have no other argument left to support FT’s existence. And this one’s a very poor one too.

    Ditto what Barnaby (#60) said.

  7. Russell

    December 26, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Re #57
    “There are a number of existing country sawmillers dependent on supplies of native forest organically grown timber to supply sawlogs for their sawmills!”

    So what Robin, that wouldn’t change if FT was dismantled.

    “It is not the responsibility of the “Tasmanian Fire Brigade”?, presume you mean local volunteer brigades or permanent fire fighting brigades under the control of the TFS to fight all fires?”

    It certainly should be, as everywhere else in Australia. Simply transfer FT’s fire crew over and fund it as a Fire Brigade. FT’s management has shown they simply aren’t capable of managing a business. In fact I believe in recent times it has been FT which has started most if not all our bushfires while conducting their ‘fuel reduction burn-offs.’

    If you want to share knowledge of forest fire behaviour, then employ the indigenous Tasmanians.

    Robin, it’s about time you got your knowledge of the organisational structure of FT practices in Tasmania in perspective or otherwise stay out of these issues altogether. The runs are on the Board.

  8. Barnaby Drake

    December 26, 2011 at 7:07 am

    #59.’State Forest must remain to be silviculturally managed for “future” timber production including the 520,000 ha that the Greens are not entitled to.’ Robin Halton

    One can only marvel at some of those who continue to perform as cheerleaders for a dysfunctional and discredited system. The puppets continue to dance on the end of choker chain firmly in the grasp of a disreputable and intransigent corporation who are mindful only of their own well-being.

    By ‘Silviculture’ I presume you mean the scorched-earth policy of FT, the transformation of entire ecosystems to a monocultural desert and the ability to turn a natural and valuable wonder into a loss-making heap of woodchips, to rot on our wharves without a customer. Or perhaps you mean to see the magnificent trees of our forests turned to cheap feed stock for any disreputable company that Forestry and our Parliamentarians can scrape off the bottom of the international cesspit?

    For a couple of million years, the forests themselves, without ‘silvicultutal management’, survived remarkably well and supplied Tasmania with all its natural heritage. World class forests, which, had they been properly used instead of handed over to the industrial pirates, would have been capable of supporting a sustainable timber industry forever.

    You go on to state:’If FT loses its commercial edge then future timber assets still require protection and maintenance.’

    FT never has had a commercial edge! It is a commercial disaster. These ‘assets’ require immediate and permanent protection from the ravages of the likes of Forestry! The ‘Greens’, as you put it, are not trying to save it for themselves, they are trying to preserve what little is left for posterity and for the benefit not only of the Tasmanians, but for the entire world. At least they are not seeing the entire wealth of the forests in terms only of money, but of value in every sense of the word.

    Fire fighting is a separate issue from silviculture, and should be handled by a different entity – namely a dedicated State Fire Service.

  9. Robin Halton

    December 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    #58 Barnaby Regardless of the future of FT, State Forest must remain to be silviculturally managed for “future” timber production including the 520,000 ha that the Greens are not entitled to.

    If FT loses its commercial edge then future timber assets still require protection and maintenance.

    FT employees, silvicultural contractors and the PWS Summer crews share firefighting resources and are trained to a high standard to cope with forest and remote firefighting demands.

    If the Forests Minister Bryan Green had a brain in his head some of that IGA money should be spread among FT and PWS to specifically protect existing National Parks ,Reserves and State Forest. No point in waiting for a Mega fire to destroy the lot. It would be a complete waste of money having that clown Prof. Johnothan West and his bunch of no hopers running around in the forests getting in the way, achieving little but making a lot of trouble, wasting money all for nothing.

  10. Barnaby Drake

    December 24, 2011 at 7:24 am

    £57. Forest fires where important timber assets are involved require specific suppression tactics with appropriate training and especially on the job experience…. Robin Halton

    Looks like there could be a few job opportunities when Forestry finally collapses after all.

  11. Robin Halton

    December 23, 2011 at 12:20 am

    #54 There are a number of existing country sawmillers dependent on supplies of native forest organically grown timber to supply sawlogs for their sawmills!
    It is not the responsibility of the “Tasmanian Fire Brigade”?, presume you mean local volunteer brigades or permanent fire fighting brigades under the control of the TFS to fight all fires?
    Forest fires where important timber assets are involved require specific suppression tactics with appropriate training and especially on the job experience.
    In the first instance are usually tackled by fire crews employed through a Forest Manager. In the case of FT, fire crews are either employees, Silvicultural contractors or PWS summer fire crews.
    Local TFS brigades can be called in when support is required as it is their main task to protect adjoining private property structures and people movement within the area determined as the Fire Ground under the control of their District Officer.
    Continual cooperation is essential between agencies and property owners involved on campaign fires.
    Knowledge sharing of forest fire behaviour is across the board and represents an important feature of modern fire fighting practices and coordination.
    Russell about time you got your knowledge of the organisational structure of Fire protection and the roles of Fire Management agencies practices in Tasmania in perspective or otherwise stay out of these issues altogether.

  12. William Boeder

    December 22, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Comment continued re the Charter of Forestry Tasmania.

    Frequently the questions arise of the sustainability of our Native Forest resources, when this occurs “its London to a brick,” that the pro-logging people such as Mark Poynter and others, do go on at length to claim that this is exactly what their logging practices provide!

    So if we are to deduct all that recent (say last 20 years,) of logged Native Forested land that has since been given over to single-species plantations, then add to that the enormous astronomical figure of the amont of Forests that were logged but with the claimed view to then become a future available logging resource, (90 odd years,) for industry re-logging, of the now diminished or cleared realms of Native Forests will not be able to sustain the volumes sourced and logged in these past 20 years.
    These voluminous harvested area figures should be available thus to be sourced from the forest harvesting records (as should still be held by Forestry Tasmania,) I am of the opinion that there is no possible show of proof to the level of sustainability that is ever so frequently quoted by the selective blind-minded pro-logging
    The amount of product that has been processed by Gunns Ltd in these past number of (20) years, via their own logging, add to that their additional source of supply from Forestry Tasmania, such regrowth could not possibly be then available in the stated 90 years.
    So again we see these subterfuges and beguilments as employed by the major forestry industry players are put in place to con the people of Tasmania?
    Until the day that a new entity is created to clean out the spinners and shysters from any involvement in Tasmania’s forest-industry futures, then no credibility is ever going to be achieved by the current Forestry Tasmania, along with its shifty secret agents of misinformation.

    The manner in which Tasmania’s forestry minister has shown himself to be so strongly aligned to the dark side of the secret and covert practices of today’s forest industry, one could suggest he is just as guilty in this matter as all those major players and scoundrels that have brought about the current status and the resultant failures and shortcomings now so blatantly apparent throughout the Tasmanian logging industry of today.
    Please note that I do not incorporate those persons or small business operators acting in good faith and in an honourable manner in and by their own logging activities.

  13. John Maddock

    December 22, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Mark #52 wrote: ‘FT needs an “outside” appointment…’

    I called for that at the time, following Rolley’s resignation, but as I understand it, when applications were called, the few overseas applicants who showed interest wanted more in salary than FT could afford to pay, once they realised the problems the organisation faced.

    Oh to have been a fly on the wall at those board meetings!


  14. Russell

    December 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Re #51
    Robin. The country sawmillers have already drastically dwindled in number and country towns have been devastated by the many Gunns buy-ups followed by the closures of those local mills.

    Both sawmillers and contractors have suffered enormously at the hands of Gunns and FT ever since they sided with little Johhny Howard’s Workchoices and the complete focus on woodchipping, which saw them all pitted against each other to work for as little as possible while paying huge machinery debts off.

    Regarding your oft repeated fire scaremongering, that issue should be left to the Tasmanian Fire Brigade. That’s actually their job, Robin!

  15. Mark

    December 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    #51, it is the FT culture that has to change. Any new managerial appointment by the current Board or government would only reinforce the current culture. FT needs an “outside” appointment, possibly even outside Australia. Maintaining the status quo in products and product certification is no longer a viable option. Similarly, if the cost of sawlogs needs to increase to reflect the true market then it has to happen. Protection of the forest industry from economic realities has resulted in all players operating with financial losses. I do not see anyone in the Tasmanian forest industry as having the experience or courage to make the necessary decisions.

  16. William Boeder

    December 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Thank you Factfinder for your usual high standards of factual research.
    I now ask the next few questions in relation the Charter held by Forestry Tasmania in order to justify its logging practices and purposes.

    I am unable to find any reference that allows this GBE to go into a huddle and label almost all of its contractual arrangements, including prices struck “between the buyer and seller,” (of the products from our State Forests and Crown Land logging activities, immediately into the “Commercial in Confidence” basket, along with most other of its practices and activities?

    So much for the transparency of its operations.

    When the entirety of the “Charter” is read it does not fill the reader with any degree of trust in the people who handle the business negotiations that indeed produce such value-less consequent outcomes.

    This State had been misled during that recent time of the “enormously ramped up wood-chipping mania that Gunns Ltd initiated and Forestry Tasmania quickly agreed to, which was for the cheapest possible cost for this Native Forest resource.

    The prices for Native Forest were set by the likes of Paul Lennon, Evan Rolley, John Gay David Llewellyn, Bryan Green, perhaps along with a few other players in the logging industry at that former time.

    Just the names of these persons acting as the price negotiators, creates its own alarms, (these involved persons whom could be better described as a school of Piranha,”) easily agreed to such cheap prices so obviously crafted to suit the Hierarchy of Gunns Ltd.

    Such were the idiotic strategies that were engaged in to set the tonnage prices for our exceedingly under-valued Native Forest resources,

    This “too cheap” figure was reliant upon huge contracted volumes, to create the magics of enormous millions of dollars to be had which were then tossed to the media to play with and suggest the mighty good job done by all parties. (In utilizing these magical big figures as were often churned out by the media assistant of Forestry Tasmania.

    Now would also be the time to speak of the enormous amount of our forest resources that were sent up in smoke into the atmospheres, if you couldn’t chip it, then the immediate next step was to quickly doze the residues into heaps and soon burn the bastard, send it skyward, ultimately to remove all former trace of the enormous volumes of residual species that could have also been marketed for far better prices than bastard wood-chips.
    To be continued.

  17. Robin Halton

    December 22, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Privatising the management of State Forest, especially our native forests would lead to the collapse of our country sawmillers and communities dependent on the timber industry for employment and business. Costs for sawlogs would rise, giving rise to major players taking market share!
    Native forest management being led by a foreign company would have the same effect on communities and State business as did the Scottsdale experience with the JV arrangement for Softwood management when FT foolishly sold off its best earner.
    State owned Native Forests under private management would ultimately suffer as natural fire regimes would be allowed to take their own course resulting in the destruction of areas of resource. Much of the cost of managing native forest is bound up with its protection from wildfires, unlike National Parks where fires can be allowed to take their natural course as their timber value is insignficant.
    Imagine if Gunns rose from the ashes and successfully tendered and gained control of our native forest resource and monopolised the State’s annual cut of sawlogs only on their terms.
    I agree that FT may need to radically consider a change in management! Perhaps the retirement of Bob Gordon could free up some of those younger and in my opinion more capable foresters under his control an opportunity to bring foward their management roles in a more up to date sense.

  18. Barnaby Drake

    December 22, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I see Gunns are having to pay out $11.67 Million on 16th January for their GNSPA holdings. Unfranked, of course, as they have run out of franking credits.
    Is this before or after their meeting with the ANZ Bank. If it is after, will there be a company there at all, or will the GNSPA owners just join the long line of Gunns post-receiver creditors?
    If it is before, will they have enough money in the kitty for this, seeing that they have reduced their potential earnings down to $30 million?

    We live in intersesting times!

  19. Barnaby Drake

    December 21, 2011 at 11:10 pm


    The sustainable yield of a forest is the level of commercial timber (or product mix) that can be maintained under a given management regime, without reducing the long-term productive capacity of the forest.

    Forestry Tasmania’s sustainable yield model is based on a 90- year period and has the following elements:
    • An extensive network of forest inventory and growth plot measurements
    • A sophisticated computer-based modelling and growth projection system
    • Incorporation of environmental constraints
    • Estimation of both native forest and plantation yields
    • An external independent audit


    Coupe BA388D next to Liffey Falls World Heritage area. Established 1991.

    “The problems that I see with an Overstory removal treatment here is that there are only a small proportion (around 30% ) of the trees that appear large enough to be used for sawlog. To log all the large trees and leave only saplings will be wasting 30 to 50 years of growth in the potential sawlogs that are there.” Peter Godfrey.

    This coupe is scheduled for clearfelling – NOW!

  20. Russell

    December 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    “Ian Attwood from International Plywood says he found the arguments of the activists more persuasive.”

    “…more persuasive.” Probably meaning true, as opposed to spin.

  21. Russell

    December 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm

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

    The Tasmanian Government is no more than a foresty PR company who couldn’t give a cracker about anything else. Sack the bloody lot of them.

    Re #40
    Robin, the last thing the forest industry needs is for the State to continue ‘managing’ the State owned native forests. They have failed monumentally.

    Insanity is repeating the same experiment over and over again expecting a different result.

    The fire brigade is, or should be, better equipped to deal with forest fires and their prevention. That’s their job, Robin.

  22. Factfinder

    December 21, 2011 at 11:26 am

    From thoroughbred racing to woodlot schemes run by companies that include FEA and Gunns.

    BDO partner signs insolvency Ben Butler
    December 22, 2011.

    FAILED investments in forestry schemes and a plunge in pay have pushed a partner in the mid-tier accountancy firm BDO into insolvency, owing almost $5 million.

    A statement of affairs filed by Steve Jones, 59, of Toorak, a Melbourne-based BDO partner who specialises in tax advice for rich families and thoroughbred racing, shows he borrowed more than $1.4 million to invest in woodlot schemes run by companies that include FEA and Gunns.

    Mr Jones also suffered from a dramatic fall in his income from BDO, his trustee, Stirling Horne, of Lawler Draper Dillon, said.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/bdo-partner-signs-insolvency-20111221-1p5k1.html#ixzz1hD8DTYf5

  23. PB

    December 21, 2011 at 11:22 am

    It is heartening to hear that not all companies are taken in by the spin and deceit perpetrated by Forestry Tasmania and Ta Ann:


    The full story was reported on AM this morning and listed to on its website where a transcript will shortly be available:


  24. john hawkins

    December 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Robin Halton # 40,

    If the only remaining reason to keep FT is the prevention of fire so as to preserve our forests, then we would be better off without them.

    Every Tasmanian should view Google Earth to see the desecration caused by a policy of clear fell for woodchips. A cancerous sore eating into the body of this beautiful island caused and sustained by corruption of the body politic.

    No fire could be so relentless.

  25. Bob McMahon

    December 21, 2011 at 9:19 am

    #41 A superb comment by Frank Strie that needs to be acted on by all the parties to the Tasmanian forestry debacle including, and especially, all political parties and environment groups as well as the forest miners.

    The forest debate in Tasmania is manifest on tasmaniantimes as tedious, boring, theological, repetitive and partisan. Frank Strie, who is a Master Forester, has always attempted to cut through the vested interest, the fundamentalism and the downright crap that dominates the polarized ‘debate’ in Tasmania.

  26. phill Parsons

    December 21, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Many supporters of continuing forestry as we used to believe that the good old days of cheap resources and an unlimited markets are there just around the [GFC] corner, you know when Asia wants wood.

    Unsurprisingly, these markets are increasing in sophistication but wanting low cost product. I doubt if a sustainable best practice industry can meet that demand at the price meaning we either have to abandon the management practices or accept that the shop will only make domestic sales in a market where illegally logged and uncertified timber is prohibited from import.

  27. Frank Strie

    December 21, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Hello Robin Halton #40 and all interested in a positive future in Tasmania.
    I agree with you that Tasmania deserves a responsible public forest management agency that actually works for the common good.
    The FT GBE is stuffed and this very much due to the brains in head office working on a short term survival mode.
    Like it or not, the best option for Tasmania would be to swiftly get rid of the ‘top shelf’ managers in Melville Street and get an international responsible forest management group of real inter-generational expertise to advise to turn this short sighted greed driven basket case into a responsible forest management organisation.
    It is about time the terms ‘sustainable management’ and “best practice” (second to none) get raised above the spin, gloss and cheap talk zone.
    The families and the communities of Scottsdale, Smithton, Geeveston , even Strahan and others deserve a lot better that what happened in regard to forest and plantation management and timber mining on our Island.
    Tasmania deserves real change and the time for more of the same old is not going to assist in implementing this process.
    To be frank, there comes a point in time where party political issues need to take a secondary position, collaboration is what has to kick in.
    The alternative is in (commercial) restoration management based on ther triple bottom line approach.
    Identify what it should be and look like and then implement the steps and procedures to accomplish that.
    No magic, no ‘Hocus Pocus Game’ , but real long term vision and commitment to fix the fundamental reasons for the problematic situation we are in.
    Some people may be required to come out of retirement and put their expertise on the solution table.
    Others should be best to attend to a rehabilitation program and learn about restoration management.

  28. Robin Halton

    December 20, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Gordon your comment #9 is unacceptable! The State must stick with managing State owned native forests, privatising or JVing natural grown forest areas will cause more than anquish for sawmilling communities dependent on employment and future management of native grown sawn timber.

    From the experience of the softwood JV back in 1999 subsequent political wheeling and dealing in favor of Gunns resulted in the closure of the Scottsdale mills which left the local community suffering ever since.
    Regardless, the State’s native forest asset must be protected from ruthless exploitation from foreign controlled interests.

    The comment from Ben Quin #14 ” I hope that Forestry Tasmania (as a GBE collapses)”, then please explain how Tasmania’s forests should be managed? I could imagine unmanaged tracts of State Forest being relentlessly destroyed by wildfire, don’t expect TFS or PWS to take on the responsibility for protecting timbered areas.

  29. Factfinder

    December 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Forestry Tasmania, as stewards of the forest: ‘Sustainable Charter’ states:

    “… wood products such as pulpwood and peelers are secondary products arising from sawlog harvest.”
    There we have it!
    Where is the original supply contract between Tasmania and Malaysia?
    Please explain and provide the facts to the owners of the forests!

    ………………………………………….. ‘Sustainable Charter’
    2.2 Sustainable yield

    Aim: Maintain a sustainable supply of commercial timber.

    This will involve:

    • Ensuring an ongoing supply of wood products from State forests

    • Adapting forest management to ensure a sustainable supply of 300,000 cubic metres of high-quality eucalypt sawlogs
    • Reviewing the sustainable high-quality sawlog supply from Tasmania’s State forests, on at least a five-yearly basis to ensure adaptation to emerging changes

    As required under the Forestry Act 1920 and confirmed in the RFA, Forestry Tasmania manages State forests to ensure an ongoing supply of 300,000 cubic metres of high-quality sawlogs annually to local industry.
    Other wood products such as pulpwood and peelers are secondary products arising from sawlog harvest.
    The sustainable yield of a forest is the level of commercial timber (or product mix) that can be maintained under a given management regime, without reducing
    the long-term productive capacity of the forest.

    Forestry Tasmania’s sustainable yield model is based on a 90- year period and has the following elements:
    • An extensive network of forest inventory and growth plot measurements
    • A sophisticated computer-based modelling and growth projection system
    • Incorporation of environmental constraints
    • Estimation of both native forest and plantation yields
    • An external independent audit

    Reviews of sustainable yield are undertaken at least every five years, as required by the RFA.
    Such reviews provide the opportunity for Forestry Tasmania, as stewards of the forest, to confirm whether regional yields are sustainable, and advise government accordingly.
    The most recent review (Forestry Tasmania, 2007) found the forests will grow faster than they will be harvested for the next nine decades, meaning there will be more forest by the turn of the next century than there is today. ….

  30. Factfinder

    December 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Just a little over 2 years ago this report was released:
    Forestry and forest products remains a strength.

    Forestry remains the sector in which Tasmania has the most disproportionate share of Australian employment. Tasmania accounts for 27.1% of Australian forestry and logging employment, 7.7% of log sawmilling and timber dressing, 6.3% of paper and paper product manufacturing, and 3.1% of ‘other’ wood product manufacturing.

    These numbers make forest products a substantial contributor to the Tasmanian economy, with annual average sales of $1.03 billion or 17.3 per cent of the state’s manufacturing sector.

    Total Tasmanian forest-product-related employment in 2007 was 10,700 (4% of the Tasmanian workforce) and Tasmania accounted for 65% of Australia’s hardwood production, 70% of decorative veneer production, 55% of newsprint, 45% of woodchip exports, and 50% of printing and writing paper production.

    At the primary-production end, commercial forestry is the single major land use in Tasmania, covering 24 per cent of the State. These forests constitute a substantial and valuable Tasmanian asset. The evident disparity between Tasmania’s share of Australian employment and production in forests and primary forest products and its share of employment and production in higher-value-added products indicates the potential of this sector to expand its value contribution in Tasmania. In addition, since the vast majority of Tasmania’s production forests are now regrowth or plantations, and timber is an inherently renewable resource, the industry should be viewed as sustainable, and socially and environmentally desirable. These factors combine to suggest the industry has considerable potential for more-profitable and innovative uses, if community divisions over environmental concerns can be overcome or transcended.

    An Innovation Strategy for Tasmania
    A New Vision for Economic Development
    Conceptual Overview and Options Outline

    Jonathan West

    Australian Innovation Research Centre
    University of Tasmania
    October 2009
    http://www.airc.net.au/extras/1024.AIRC.An Innovation Strategy for Tasmania.Concept Paper.pdf

  31. john hayward

    December 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    $.11.5 – a (Les) Baker’s dozen, but still not a murmur from a parliament riding this boondoggle into its crater.

    John Hayward

  32. Factfinder

    December 20, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Trust Forestry Tasmania!?

    Are Forestry Tasmania’s Statements true or false?
    for example:”Since Forestry Tasmania was corporatised in 1994, community expectations have changed.”

    [It sounds as if the serious debate only started in 1994!?]

    ‘Sustainability Charter’

    The sustainability charter is a forest management plan that reflects FT’s role as stewards of the forest. The document guides FT’s decision making over the next ten years, and outlines how our commitment to sustainable forest management and protection of the environment will be balanced with responsible economic and social outcomes.


    * Through this Charter, Forestry Tasmania will manage State forests in accordance with the following … sustainability objectives:
    – Sustaining biodiversity and habitat
    – Sustaining jobs for current and future
    – Sustaining carbon stores, clean air, water
    and healthy forests

    The Sustainability Charter lays the framework for the sustainable management of Tasmania’s State forests for the next decade.

    In essence, the Charter is a single statewide Forest Management
    Plan(1), responding in a holistic way to the community’s expectations and aspirations for its forest assets.
    This Charter replaces seven district plans and responds to the growing need for information to be made more accessible.
    It allows Forestry Tasmania to more transparently communicate its statewide direction, and how it intends to manage the forest estate taking into account and balancing economic, social and environmental values.
    Since Forestry Tasmania was corporatised in 1994, community expectations have changed.
    This Charter reflects the new vision, mission, corporate objectives and values, developed
    cooperatively by the Board, senior management and all staff in 2008.

    (1) This Charter is a Forest Management Plan as referred to in Section 22 of the Forestry Act 1920.

    Tasmania’s State forests will be a globally trusted source
    of sustainable timber and other forest products and
    services for this and future generations.
    Forestry Tasmania manages State forests for optimum
    community benefit, using environmental best practice to
    create long-term wealth and employment for Tasmanians.
    Corporate objectives
    Forestry Tasmania aims to:

    • Embrace science to achieve best practice
    environmental stewardship and maintain Australian
    Forestry Standard certification.

    • Create long-term business and employment
    opportunities for the community by managing
    the forests for multiple use and encouraging
    downstream processing.

    • Achieve positive financial returns through sound, ethical business practice.

    • Build community trust through honest dialogue.


    • We care for people and their environment.
    • We think before we act.
    • We get things done.
    • We do what we say we will do.
    • We are proud of who we are and what we do.

  33. William Boeder

    December 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    It is my contention that a Government Business Enterprise that is both failing the people of Tasmania and in its continual actions of cloaked over and clandestine conducted purposes, that this GBE should have all its authorities revoked in the immediate.

    Comments #15 & #18 relating to the profile of that person

    There are a number of this type of individual in the higher office realms in this State that practice their absolutely useless applications of occupation upon the valuable Native Forest resources of Tasmania.

    They appear to possess thus exhibit such strengths that are held in the core of those largely blunt metal wrecking balls.

    Yes, you know the type, those big solid metal balls that are seen swinging from huge excavators that have been designed to smash all and every obstacle of opposition, or used in the demolition of whatever might confront these unworthiest of persons.

    I do believe that all of that former paperwork of promise along with the statutory signatures signed- that do create a State GBE, surely can be be called upon to create a reversal of process, de-activation of, or a repeal of the originating process, to that of the now lowly financial status and poor performance outcomes resulting from this rather untidy failed and ruinous, “on the very brink of bankruptcy” deplorable managed State GBE?

    Any agency department or even a fatuous failing GBE can be shut down when the overall above-mentioned business outcomes are the only product available upon which to make a sound and convincingly honest judgment.

    Editor’s note: edited to comply with the TT code.

  34. Valleywatcher

    December 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    #31 Mark – I see a great alternative: No pulp mill in Tasmania at all. Apparently, would-be investors also seem to prefer this option, since not one, despite all the “imminent announcements”, has come forward.
    Any would-be investor, having done due diligence into the viability of this project, has run a mile with their money intact. Speaks volumes.

  35. John Maddock

    December 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    “slight typo on “expensive” – should be “extensive.”

    Don’t beat yourself up Mark.

    Seems to me both words are applicable – Freudian slip or not!


  36. Angus Bennett

    December 20, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Once Gunns’ shares reach AU$0.01/share, if they go up a cent, shareholders will have doubled their money.

  37. Mark

    December 20, 2011 at 10:31 am

    PS slight typo on “expensive” – should be “extensive.”

    Solutions? Lobby on the type of pulp mill and its location eg further up into the industrial area of the Tamar. I do not see alternatives on the Tasmanian or mainland’s coast but am open to suggestions.

    New year prediction? A negotiated international sale of Gunns to avoid insolvency (pay the banks) with a commitment to commence a pulp mill within 12 months. This would already be far advanced in planning.

  38. Mark

    December 20, 2011 at 9:52 am

    #28, a good question. At a national forest industry level the stakeholders and federal parties need a pulp mill. The plantation forest estate, courtesy of MIS, is now expensive across southern Australia. Parts are already being harvested and woodchip market remains poor. Port options and favourable currents for waste are few eg Portland or Albany might be OK for exports of woodchips but the currents would push the waste back onto the coast.

    Tassie will just stick its fingers in its ears, shut its eyes and sing “La=la-la” while it continues to cut down HCV forests out of either spite or some perceived need. The state pollies are too scared of an electoral backlash from the backwoods. I think I spelt that right….

    Tassie needs new leadership in forestry with fresh ideas and the time to implement them. Most current players have had 30 years of opportunities and are teetering on retirement or death.

  39. Mark

    December 20, 2011 at 12:01 am

    #27, I had already noticed the absence of forestry supporters on this thread. Whenever the subject turns to financials and arithmetic there is no sound except the crickets.

  40. Anne Cadwallader

    December 19, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Well, amidst the popping of champagne corks, well deserved and hard earned after this marathon of the People Vs. Gunns and Tas Inc., it might be time for a quiet chat on the edges. What happens now?

    When Gunns bankruptcy comes early in 2012, or whenever the dinosaur crashes to the ground, how does it all play out? What happens to its assets, what happens to Tasmanian forests? Has anyone mapped this out?

    Does the Pulp Mill menace stop in its tracks? Is a foreign takeover of plantations or rights likely, and a devil-we-don’t know keep the nightmare going? What should we campaign for in terms of governmental response ?

    Anyone got a fix on this ?

  41. Garry Stannus

    December 19, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    How far will it go? 11.5c … I’ll go and buy a champagne when it hits single figures:

    “Tasmanians went to bed this Xmas Eve, knowing that that the Joint Venture Partner’ would not be coming down the chimney this year. Greg L’Estrange went to bed, but forgoed (forwent?) the stocking over the end of the bed.) He couldn’t complain, he’d already got an early Christmas Present, via the IGA. Bob Gordon was in the same boat.

    I went to bed and dreamt of Gunns falling to 9c overnight, as a quiet snow came with the dropping of the wind. I woke, and recalled the dream, and smiled, warm under the eider. Falling back into the dream it was New Year, and Gunns opened on 3c. There was an announcement on the ASX … Greg L’Estrange was confident that a JVP would be announced before Australia went back to work.

    It was heavy snow this Christmas morning, but the radio confirmed it! Gunns were at 9c !!!!! I dug my way out the door, in my gummies and pulled the champers from the back seat. Boy it was cold! I went back in and found a hollow-stemmed drinking vessel, and quietly toasted the new day. There’s nothing like the zing of bubbles on the palate in the cold. And good news.”

    There will be such a morning. We are making it happen. Merry Christmas everybody and Happy New Year!

    ‘Protect Native Forests and No Pulp Mill!’

    Hello Miranda. 60m from the ground. In your Watch-Tower. Your Observer Tree. Our Observer Tree! Anyone who reads your blogs will know by now that Gillard and Giddings, Colbeck and Gordon are betraying the IGA. They won’t mention Clause 27.

    Woodchip-firewood apologists: Time to speak up. Will you remain silent, or will you speak up and admit the agreement doesn’t allow FT to continue logging in the 430k ha? Or choose to allow Colbeck to continue with his misleading polemics?

  42. Barnaby Drake

    December 19, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Since Standard and Poors downgraded Gunns to ‘Junk’ the bottom has fallen out of their world. Right now they will be lucky to make it to Christmas. Currently at 11.5 cents you could pick up this debt-riddled company for peanuts if anyone wanter the hassles. With the crisis in Europe nowhere near an end, their latest JVP seems to have put his cheque book away.

    My prediction of 10 cents by Christmas seems to be nearing reality.

    What are the chances now of them renegotiating the terms of their loan? I think the ANZ are more likely to be doing this with the Receiver!

    I wonder if Greg is going home for Christmas? In which case the title of this article also applies to him.

  43. Bronwyn Williams

    December 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    #22 Go to http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au.

    Select ‘Committees’ from the top menu bar

    Select ‘Committees’ in the drop down menu

    Select Legislative Council Sessional – Government
    Administration A – on the left hand side of the page

    Select Completed Inquiries 2011 – Forestry Tasmania
    Financial Performance – at bottom left of page

    Select Transcripts on right hand side of page – there are
    three files – 18 April 2011, 23 May 2011 and 4 July 2011

    Read and enjoy, and wonder about the ‘in camera’ bits!

  44. john hayward

    December 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Putting Gordon Kloedon and Thuggo together and the financial sophistication becomes more than a mortal can follow.

    I can’t even work out why the 77,809 ha of land swap plantation doesn’t show up anywhere in the FT reports. The great bulk of the present plantation was established since 2000-1.

    Nor can I find the rent income from the several hundred thousand ha of state forest under lease to private entities is going.

    I’m likewise puzzled as to why an outfit such as Ta Ann, which is supposedly here to sweep up scraps for its veneer business, is the main operator in the HCV areas of the IGA.

    I do understand why FT no longer claims State Forest land as an asset. Some external auditor said they couldn’t.

    But I don’t see why the entire Tassie woodchip industry should share non-profit charity status with the Bobster’s operations.

    Where can you do a course in Tassie law?

    John Hayward

  45. Factfinder

    December 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Re: #21

    http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/ctee/Council/Transcripts/4 July 2011 – Forestry Tas Financial.pdf

    Pages 20 + 21 like “building a house”… plantations, forestry, harvesting, management

  46. Pensive

    December 19, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    (Of course!?!) both document links in post Nr 21 are not coming up, page not found/file not found. There must be full time Govt TT readers with their hand on the mouse standing by 24/7, or else Factfinder has invented the links… Naughty Factfinder?

  47. Factfinder

    December 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Page 20 explains the process:


    The initial wood supply agreement reached between Gunns Limited and…At the same time, Ta Ann’s demand for peeled veneer billets …


    s t e w a r d s o f t h e f o r e s t

    In the years ahead, plantations will meet some of the bulk of the world’s timber needs, but the eco-premium products, we believe, will come from organically grown and sustainably managed native forests.
    Forestry Tasmania also works hard to create ongoing opportunities for regional jobs in tourism. …
    One of the great aspects of being the Managing Director of Forestry Tasmania is the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. Our program of community re-engagement has involved hosting community briefings in each of our regional areas. They have been very useful in establishing a meaningful dialogue with our stakeholders and I intend to host at least one briefing in each District every year.
    O u r b u s i n es
    Finally, I would like to pay tribute to two very loyal servants of Forestry Tasmania: my predecessor, Evan Rolley, who retired from the position in December, and the outgoing Chairman,
    Laurie Wilson. Both have contributed immeasurably to both the organisation and the forest industry in general.
    Bob Gordon
    Managing Director

    The 2007 Annual Report
    http://www.forestrytas.com.au/uploads/File/pdf/Forestry Tasmania Annual Report 2007.pdf

  48. Karl Stevens

    December 19, 2011 at 11:27 am

    MMMM. Seems the only part if the IGA that worked seamlessly was the bit where Gunns and FT were bankrolled by the overburdened taxpayer. Now the IGA proponents have resorted to ‘plan B’. Here the overburdened taxpayer is again used to bankroll anybody that holds a ‘contract’ that has not already been paid-out. This phase could go on for years. We are close to the point where Forestry Tasmania will be paid every time they don’t fell a tree. Is this the best the junior coalition partner can do? In the meantime we have Still Wild Still Threatened up the ‘IGA Failure Tree’. They call it the ‘Observation Tree’.

  49. Mark

    December 19, 2011 at 9:59 am

    #18, I always found a pertinent question for anyone who holds themselves out as a “Change Manager” to be, “What changes have you undertaken in your personal life over the last 5 years?” Most do not have any answer of substance.

  50. serco sam

    December 19, 2011 at 9:43 am

    That’s him, #15. His bio as a member of the National Advisory Board of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia is also interesting.

    “Adrian’s skills include change management, establishment and growth of new business opportunities, business restructuring and developing management teams for company growth and individual development. He is a strong believer that success is driven by selecting, developing and retaining, high quality people.”

    Just the man to run FT.

  51. Simon Warriner

    December 19, 2011 at 8:55 am

    re 15, thanks for that. Funny how it always comes back to leadership.

  52. Barnaby Drake

    December 19, 2011 at 4:19 am

    Sen Colbeck and Forestry are claiming that they have to satisfy their contracts by harvesting 21 coupes before Christmas from the within the proposed 430 000 hectares that are being put asside for reserves.

    It would be interesting to know why.

    Gunns is out of the picture now and surrendered their allocation. There are some minor saw mills and there is Ta Ann.

    However, Ta Ann does not require any timber from Old Growth forests at all. They have stated quite categorically in their company reports that ALL their wood is supplied from regrowth and plantation, and they only use wood that was previously designated as pulp wood and are therefore value adding. They then go on to claim that they are PEFC Certified, so we must believe them!?

    So if this is true, then who are FT’s customers that require them to harvest in designated reserves under the IGA? And can they please tell us if Ta Ann only requires the wood that used to be chipped, why are Forestry stock piling this stuff and why do they need $1.1 million to transport it to the Bell Bay chipper?

    What is Forestry going to do if the IGA IS ratified? They will have to look for alternative sources that are not in reserves, so why don’t they start now and end the conflict?

    There is no shortage of ham for Christmas!

  53. Cordyceps

    December 19, 2011 at 1:08 am

    Is Forestry Tasmania chairman Adrian Kloeden the same Adrian Kloeden who was a member of the first statutory board ever relieved of its duties by the Australian Government? (as reported in The Land, December 3, 1998).

    The indulgent and unresponsive leadership of the wool industry crashed the enterprise a decade ago. Those vast unsaleable wool mountains at Australian ports in the 1990s, monuments to market distortion and poor political and rural leadership, have contemporary echoes in the vast woodchip piles rotting on Tasmanian wharves. The fateful decision by the Wool Board and its successors to largely offer their customers undifferentiated bulk wool has an uncomfortable resonance in the current fetish for converting our forests into low value chips.

    When wool growers finally grew tired of the pitiful returns, the way forward was in well promoted, differentiated wools offered to specialised segments of the global textile market, usually at a considerable premium – after sacking the leadership of course. Tasmania, with its sought after superfine wools, was a winner in the new market paradigm.

    ( *An Adrian Kloeden profile on LinkedIn listing him as Forestry Tasmania chairman, and a former MD of Woolmark, is here: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?authType=name&goback=.npp_%2Fadrian*5kloeden%2F16%2F974%2F894&locale=en_US&id=56140528&authToken=LAi5 )

  54. Ben Quin

    December 18, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I hope that Forestry Tasmania (as a GBE) collapses, along with the IGA on Forests and the Gunns Pulp Mill proposal. I wonder if Santa will oblige.

    The entire framework proposed to support the future Tasmanian Forestry industry is based on these three pillars!

    Goodness me – a shabby, rotten tri-pod if there ever was one. I doubt even the Angel of the Forests would risk her neck on this one.

    If we proceed further down this path, the industry is surely doomed to utter collapse. The people who make up the forestry industry are too important to the future of Tasmania’s environment and economy for them to be abandoned to this fate.

    I recall a piece some time back where John Lawrence ( http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php/category-article/108 )discussed the need for FT to differentiate between the contributions to income in their accounts from different categories of logs.

    Could we rewind to that point John, and propose a pathway that gives us even a chance of recovering a stable industry platform?

    Ben Quin

  55. john lawrence

    December 18, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    I may be able to assist with the first question Bronwyn (#7).

    FT’s trade debtors at 30th June 2011 are best set out in Note 34 of the financials. The total was $38.925 million but $11.666 million was already written off as impaired, much of it presumably the contentious 2009/10 take or pay amount re Gunns at that stage listed in the 90+ days column.

    Bob Gordon’s cry for HELP in his briefing note to the shareholder ministers dated 29th July (obtained by Elise Archer further to a RTI request) listed amount owing by Gunns at $26.83 million.Excluding GST to make the figures comparable, the latter figure becomes $24.4 million.

    The IGA raid enabled the Gunns debt to be ‘repaid’. Trading since has been quieter to a much reduced clientele, so debtors won’t be huge.

  56. John Powell

    December 18, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Peter Godfrey,
    part of that 99,000 ha that was “somehow transferred to FT” – perhaps along with the title to my access road (Mountain Road)- was the 44 ha of Coupe 388D.

    I offered to purchase that entire coupe in late October along the terms of the Jan Cameron purchase of Gunns acreage. FT did not have the decency to respond.

    On the basis of current figures provided by John Lawrence et al, that offer has been reduced by the amount the Gunns share price has reduced in the same time period, and then some.

    Alternatively I propose to lease the entire 44ha for 99 years for one Tasmanian Peppercorn for and on behalf of the people of Tasmania!

  57. signofthetrimes

    December 18, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    How can paul lennon be wise, after being ousted by his own party and replaced. other two are now wiser then him. god help us

  58. Russell

    December 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    “E. Nitens var firewoodii”


  59. Dr Gordon Bradbury

    December 18, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Robin (#6) I do appreciate your continuing devotion to the native forest timber industry, but unless good Governance, good management and fiscal responsibility are put in place then a bankrupt FT cannot support any native forest sawmilling industry. It doesn’t matter how much devotion anyone has. And the pollies and managers are showing no indication this is about to happen. Quite the opposite – eg. no public release of the URS report.

    And FIAT and the TFGA remain silent. Why can’t the forest industry start demanding some accountability and action? This is their future after all. Come on Terry Edwards! Where are you?

    The public policy and administration of the forest industry in Tasmania for the past 20 years has been woeful.

    You may not like the TFIA, but the past 20 years have proven that the continuing domination of the industry by FT and the Government is no longer an acceptable option. It is time to hand the forest industry over to the private sector. It will be painful, but that is a consequence of delayed reform.

  60. William Boeder

    December 18, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I Also give my thanks to John Lawrence for his identifying revelations and his ability to provide (in his own time) to Tas Times, his financial statement translations.

    Some years ago now I wrote a comment to Tas Times advising that the continuation of F/Ts involvement in their on-going ruthless Native Forest logging was for no other reason than to have a vehicle to provide salaries to the directors and management, whilst at the same time they were desperately trying to maintain their important GBE status.

    Nothing has altered in these specific realms and pursuits of F/T since that time of writing the said comment.

    I had since claimed on this Tas Times forum that this GBE should have all of its authorities revoked on the grounds that it cannot function in a profitable manner let alone provide a transparent window to its operations, nor return a true return to this State by its predations upon the State’s Native Forests. So once again nothing has changed in and by this GBE, just the same old inadequate management strategies and executive board directed logging pursuits, (nor to its transparency of operations?)

    The sooner this entire false facade set in place to shield F/T from the discovery of its insufficiency in providing any benefit to the State of Tasmania, (more-so when the facts and even its rubbery audited figures show this to be the true case,) is honestly realized by our State’s Auditor General, then the dismantling of F/T can begin without further delay.

  61. Bronwyn Williams

    December 18, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Mr Lawrence, would you be able to discuss the issue of FT’s debtors, which have, according to Ruth Forrest’s Legislative Council Committee report, blown out to an average of 101 days (as at July 2011)?

    Also, could you explain why people holding high office in Tasmania refuse to acknowledge errors of judgement or mistakes of practice, and steadfastly resist any effort to hold them to account. Is is extreme self-interest, or extreme stupidity, or both?

    And, how do they get away with it?

  62. Robin Halton

    December 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    What a pickle, all over greed ,misconceptions and the wrong mates in the right places and bad management!
    Tasmania seems to be on the brink of losing its timber industry “altogether”?
    To much “Gunning”, former Premier Paul Lennon spent too much time running up and down to John Gays office. “Hurry up this assessment process we are starting construction in October” Right oh I’ll sack the RPDC and we’ll do a make believe assessment to speed up the approvals!
    Where are we today folks, nothing to show for all the fuss!
    Although I am still a strong forestry supporter, I don’t take kindly to the nonsense that occurred between Lennon and Gay. The Premier and her puppet protege Bryan Green still support a Tamar Valley pulp mill! That is how bad it is, it can only get worse from here on! So FT owes TasCorp $40M, wasn’t that through raiding of RBF super!
    My personal view is even with the cash injection of $156M from the recent Softwood sale through GMO/Taswood, I would doubt if there would be much fat left for FT to look into new ventures!
    At the end of the day at a very minimum the state’s NF sawmillers and Ta Ann are still entitled to their supplies of forest products for their needs.
    What happens now because of the diminishing demand for export NF pulp thrown up during the sawlogging and veneer log operations?
    What will happen to the HWP resource as it is of no use for sawlog or peeler?
    Who will look after the care, maintenance and development of the remaining State Forest asset, especially the valuable and expansive native forest to exclude devastating wildfires?
    The IGA trade off is still not the right move, despite all of the posturing for payoff money!
    I make it quite clear in the worst case financial scenario for FT, NF must be protected against invading and destructive wildfire as our timber resource is still a valuable item to hold onto to.
    Given that the S E Asia region is cutting its native forests down at an alarming rate, Tasmanian timber must be retained as much as possible for the future.
    Tasmania could be the most timbered place remaining on the planet in 50 years time!

  63. David Obendorf

    December 18, 2011 at 10:59 am

    It makes the ENGO ‘plantation for native forests’ peace-in-our-time deal all the more nonsensical!

    A failed business model from Forestry Tasmania (and Gunns Ltd) and the ENGOs actually backed this vast plantation estate of predominantly “E. nitens var. firewoodii” [nomenclature change from E. nitens. var pulpwodii”] into perpetutity as the way Tasmania will do its forestry.

    And so where is ‘a pulp mill’ fellas?

    Welcome to Taz-mania! Just shifting the deck-chairs on the Titanic, but perhaps we know who’ll be getting into the life boats first! GBE & company directors masquerading as ‘women & children’?

  64. Barnaby Drake

    December 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Brilliant John – you’ve done it again!

    Love that comment :
    The age profile of FT’s plantation is younger and dominated by the selected strains of E. Nitens var firewoodii.

    Then that one for Mark Poynter, et al: ‘The plantation hardwood resource won’t be cash flow positive for a while, if ever, and the native forests industry will be unable to sustain the current workforce of 400+’
    So much for the much vaunted 3 500 workforce, which also seems to have declined from those heady days of Paul Lennon, when it was 10 000!

    Maybe it is becasuse of these 400+ workers that FT does not want to receive the IGA offer for its workers. If they all take an exit package, FT will have to find some money for its unfunded pension scheme immediately, and right now, the cupboard is bare and not a bone in sight!

    However, be careful John. If you continue along these lines they might want to extradite you to America and Gauntanamo Bay! Of course, you will be given a fair trial!

  65. Pete Godfrey

    December 18, 2011 at 9:42 am

    On the issue of replanting Pine. John FT must sit on Forest Practices Plans for a very long time.
    According to the Forest Practices Authority Annual reports over the last 11 years, in the last 6 years only 2 ha of Pine replanting has been approved.
    I am afraid that FT’s books may be slightly charred.

  66. Mark

    December 18, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Hang onto your seat, Grandma? Sorry but her speciality timber seat was chipped years ago.

    FT and Tasmania have both chipped their futures. FT has not been financially viable for a long time. I, too, do not see a role for FT in any future timber industry beyond that of a state government regulator. However, I do not see a clear picture of Tasmania’s future timber industry.

    The industry with its 2020 Vision and RFA deregulation regime has only managed to trash what were once extensive state forest timber reserves. After several decades Tassie remains broke with little reserved and a useless GBE. Both major parties remain fixated like rabbits in a spotlight.

    There were opportunities to replace the Board and review forestry but all the blokes in power couldn’t let go and admit they were wrong. Watch the powerbrokers avoid any decisions or actions in 2012. Watch the apologists blame anyone but themselves.

  67. Pete Godfrey

    December 18, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Once again John thankyou for unravelling as much as is possible of this tangled web.
    The only comment I can add is that the land that FT’s plantations are on is actually owned by FT.
    The property sheets show FT as the owner and ratepayer.
    I have the maps to prove it.
    Somehow they managed to get 99000 ha of Crown Land transferred into their name.
    It may be that they will sell that land next to use as a prop for their accounts.

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