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


Sunken treasure or desperate forest policy?

Mercury: Sunken treasure: Bold plan to rescue precious forests SMF: Federal funding to unlock underwater timber

Like so many I was originally supportive of the superficial appeal of this story.

But the more I thought about it the worse it became.

A $5 million Federal Government grant to salvage 20,000 cubic metres of special timbers from Lake Pieman represents a $250 per cubic metre subsidy to add to the already heavily-subsidised Special Timbers industry.

The Age of Entitlement is alive and well here in Tasmania.

Thanks Joe Hockey!

The Special Timbers industry has become a sacred cow for many Tasmanians, especially our politicians.

This project:

• delays the day of reckoning for the Special Timbers industry;

• prevents forest policy from focusing on rebuilding the forest industry for the future;

• perpetuates the perception (reality?) that the forest industry is a taxpayer-funded community service rather than a profit-driven commercial business.

• continues the precedent of mining “fossil“ timber resources, at the expense of positive action for the future. Which fossil timber resources will be mined next? Why not plant trees for the future?

If these timbers are so valuable and special why didn’t a private investor put the money up to get the project started? Surely there are quick easy profits to be made here?

Instead we now face the absurd situation of SFM competing with Forestry Tasmania to flood the market with cheap subsidized special timbers; distorting market processes and prices and discouraging private investment.

Does anyone else see the stupidity in this?

What good does this do for Tasmania?

A few short-term jobs created at the direct expense of real investment, future growth and development.

Why does that sound so typically Tasmanian?

I’m sure the good people at SFM Forest Products have the very best of intentions with this venture. From my viewpoint however this project has far too many negative features, particularly within the current dire political and industry context.

This would be a really great project if the context was different, and it required no Government funding.

Within the current context however it shows all the signs of desperate forest policy.

Here we are keeping the special timbers sacred cow on life support for a few more years instead of investing for the future.

Can we please put away the begging bowls, de=sanctify the sacred cows and look to the future (and not the past) to rebuild the forest industry!

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  1. William Boeder

    August 14, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Hmm there seems to be some unedited content in this comment #5 but don’t despair this will fade into the futures and will in time best be forgotten.

    My apologies to those who attempted to read or even try to interpret the non-edited goobldegook.

  2. MJF

    August 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Memo Darryn Crook @ SFM :

    Bring these lads over, forget the hitech gadgetry and you’ll make a nice little earner out of the 5 mil


  3. William Boeder

    August 12, 2014 at 4:16 am

    it has become morally degrading to realize that this sort of pursuit over-rides the need for the planting of special species timbers for the future of this woodcraft niche supply line.
    Like Dr Gordon Bradbury I to am appalled by the reluctance of the government and its enormously troubling cyst in the form of Forestry Tasmania, that there is still no wisdom to be found in the government levels of our State to begin a pro-active blackwood growing region in this State.
    How about a good deal less of the Foolery’s of Forestry Tasmania and some merit directed to the commencement of that which Dr Gordon Bradbury would like to see seriously listened to and immediately commence its plantings for this States special species timbers.
    There was an attractive display of hand-crafted blackwood and blackheart sassafras manufactured world quality guitars placed on display in the latest publication presented by the Blackwood Growers people.
    How is it a State government can be so pig-headed negative toward some sort of ample future supply of this in demand timber blackwood timber.
    The only answer can be that these forestry ignorant cahoots and those in government are truly incapable of recognizing golden opportunities each time they present.
    (I quote the recent debacle advises given out by Michael Ferguson, his desire to kill the medical hemp growing potential industry, sadly that this wont provide for any change to the pissed off people.
    We now see how welcoming were the new Norfolk island officials to see them establish their high desire to grew tend and harvest such future yielding alternate plant crops here in Tasmania. yieldingthat sought to then establish themselves over on nofolk Iaslandnew crop product returning business operatioo come to the aid of our struggling Tasmania.the future fruit of

  4. Roderick Russell-Stone

    August 12, 2014 at 12:56 am

    Huon Pine may be ok but the rest will be rotten and probably not even fit for chipping. More cargo cult nonsense – or just another attempt to milk the public purse.

  5. Jack B Nimble

    August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    When I first read this story I thought to myself, someones taking the piss, I had to check the calendar to see if it was April 1st, it seems it’s just business as usual, special favors for forestry mates at tax payers expense.

  6. Russell

    August 11, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    How ridiculously expensive an operation this looks to be! And are we the public supposed to prop it up as well?

    Is SFM an offshoot or part of FT?

    In Lake Mulwala on the Murray River, and others, the trees are purposely left there because if they were removed the lake bottom would be prone to erosion and fish would have nowhere to breed and live.

    Why can’t SFM selectively and individually log from FT’s swathes of land?

  7. Pete Godfrey

    August 11, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I find it stupid too Gordon. I can’t believe that the dams were not logged before they were flooded.
    The industry were cutting down our forests as fast as they could to send it overseas as subsidised woodchips and here were thousands of cubic metres of timber just drowned.
    Like you have said it is stupid to maintain the mining mentality when nothing is being done to make the small special species industry sustainable.
    The holy grail these days seems to be Celery top for boats. That is being driven by a small portion of the industry. They are being given a disproportionate voice in parliament and called in whenever their political allies in Timber Communities Australia need a voice to back up their radical views.
    It is time for an audit of what timbers we have, and planning to allow cutting only of what is perpetually sustainable.

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