The Tasmanian Special Timbers Alliance (TSTA) welcomes the release of the Legislative Council Report on the Tasmanian Forests Agreement Bill 2012.
“TSTA has strongly argued that the Special Timbers (ST) sector had not been adequately represented in the IGA/IVG process and that little, if any of the required verification work had been completed on ST supply by the signatories. This report unfortunately confirms what we have been saying about TFA process all along.” TSTA President Andrew Denman advised today.
The IGA had guaranteed 12,500 cubic metres of ST per annum subject to verification. The Select Committee heard evidence that the actual figure is now at 9000 cubic metres of which 7400 cubic metres is blackwood, 500 for huon pine and the remainder to be shared amongst 4-5 other species.
This figure was reduced from the “guaranteed” 12,500 cubic metres arbitrarily, without any verification of industry requirements despite evidence being provided to the IVG showing actual demand had averaged just under 17,000 cubic metres per annum.
“The question really must be asked why the verification work on specialty timbers has not been carried out before setting reserve sizes.” It was also heard in evidence that much of the specialty timber and craft
zone set aside under the TFA does not in fact contain any appreciable quantity of ST and certainly not enough to support existing industry participants.
“It is obvious, from expert evidence, that there is not enough ST in the proposed reserves to supply industry. The supply figures keep changing and a getting a straight answer on what will be available is impossible. If
the TFA reserves are allowed to be formalised without amendment it will completely decimate the ST value adding sector in Tasmania.”
“In light of this evidence, I call on the signatories to publicly release their modelling, data and impact study used to determine the size and location of the areas set aside for special timber production. There is little sense in Minister Burke throwing $3 million dollars into a special timbers study if there will be none to harvest.”
“TSTA implores the Legislative Council to support amendments to the bill that ensures the future of one of Tasmania’s flagship industry sectors.”
Andrew Denman, President, The Tasmanian Special Timbers Alliance (TSTA)