Tasmanian Times

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

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

Economy

Policies for a Sheltered Workshop

First published December 5

Before we delve into the crocodile infested waters of Tasmanian forest politics I recommend reading this review of public native forest administration by economist John Lawrence first:

http://tasfintalk.blogspot.com.au/2017/11/forestry-tasmanias-demise-in-detail.html

If that review sparks your interest you can read any one of the other 52 articles John has written on public forest administration in Tasmania over the past 9 years.

http://tasfintalk.blogspot.com.au/search/label/Forestry%20Tasmania

John Lawrence has clearly shown that public forest administration in Tasmania is a complete failure.

Not only is it a failure it is a CRISIS – a gross waste of social, forest and financial resources.

The only possible answer to this crisis is to transition the forest industry to a fully commercial business model based on profitable private tree growers, and to shut down public native forestry.

So what is the 2018 State election offering Tasmanians as a solution to the CRISIS?

Let’s look at the policies of the political parties to see what they are going to do about this CRISIS.

Liberal Party

First to the current State Liberal Government. Given the chaos, broken promises and incredible waste of the past 4 years one wonders whether anything credible can come from the Liberal Party. And if it did would anyone believe it?

We needn’t worry!

Shown below is the little information provided by the Liberal Party on forest policy.

One has to assume that the chaos and waste of the past 4 years will continue.

From page 12 “Building Your Future”:

https://www.tas.liberal.org.au/policy

17. Double the forest, fine timber and wood fibre industry value-add to $1.2 billion by 2036

This is a target supported by industry in its Strategic Growth Plan for Tasmanian forests, and is backed by a majority Liberal Government. Over half the State’s forest is in reserves, and we need to ensure efficient use of our timber resources through innovation, investment and value-adding, ensuring we have a sustainable, strong timber industry to support thousands of jobs in regional Tasmania.

A policy with a 20 year delivery date? I don’t think so!

This policy keeps the focus on a bankrupt public native forest industry which needs to be shut down, not subsidised for another 20 years.

18. Double production from Tasmania’s hardwood plantations by 2022

Production from Tasmania’s privately-owned hardwood plantations has grown dramatically, with the harvest of pulpwood increasing from a low of 222,054 tonnes in 2012-13 to 1.72 million tonnes in 2015-16. With a significant interest in wood from these plantations, we are confident we can double production

Given that 99% of Tasmania’s hardwood plantations are privately owned and these trees are already in the ground, growing and due for harvest this is a non-policy. It has nothing at all to do with “we”! It is the salvage logging of the disastrous MIS scheme pulpwood plantations of which only 40% will be replanted after harvest. They will be sold as export woodchips.

If this is the forest industry vision of the Liberal Party it is myopic at best and wasteful at worst.

Labor Party

The Labor Party has a pretty comprehensive list of policies going into the 2018 election:

http://taslabor.com/policies/what-we-stand-for/

Unfortunately they have little detail about what they will do with the forest industry CRISIS. Here is what detail they do provide:

In their Economic Direction Statement Labor say they will establish eight Industry Advisory Councils across key sectors of the economy, including one IAC for Primary Industries and Forestry (p. 27).

Labor’s Economic Direction Statement

Given that we already have a highly politicised Forest Industry Advisory Council

https://www.stategrowth.tas.gov.au/energy_and_resources/forestry/ministerial_advisory_council_on_forestry

with members of the Council opposing the Government and each other, one has to wonder what’s next? More chaos presumably.

It also looks like Labor supports the taxpayer funded plundering of our last remaining public native oldgrowth and rainforests:

Franklin Maritime Heritage Centre

Like the Liberal Party, it looks like the Labor Party are going to kick the FORESTRY CRISIS down the road rather than resolve it.

Wrong policy!

The Greens

Tasmania’s unreserved native forests need be managed sensibly for future generations and so that they continue to support the ecological systems on which we depend.

https://greens.org.au/policies/tas/forests

After 35 years of forestry wars it is incredible that even The Greens can’t come up with a decent coherent forests policy based on a clear understanding of past failures and future opportunities.

Their Forests policy contains 28 clauses. I was going to highlight and discuss the better of these clauses, but I couldn’t find one standout clause in the entire policy.

The Greens clearly support the continuation of public native forestry in Tasmania despite the overwhelming evidence that the public native forestry is completely bankrupt.

Like the two major parties The Greens policy keeps the industry focus on public native forestry. Any idea of an industry transition to profitable private plantations is out of the question.

None of the political parties even have the integrity to acknowledge there is a problem!

The Tasmanian political system continues to perpetuate the FORESTRY CRISIS and fail the Tasmanian community.

The forest industry wont reform itself as there are far too many people with their hands in the begging bowl; and it is a very generous begging bowl.

Regardless of who Tasmanians vote for in 2018 the FORESTRY CRISIS will continue.

With no political solution anywhere in sight it is time for the Tasmanian community to take action.

Let’s start a list of all the things we as a community can do to help shut down public native forestry in Tasmania and end this CRISIS.

When will Tasmania get a fully commercial profitable forest industry?

*Gordon Bradbury is a forester. He says: “For the past 7 years I’ve been attempting to generate political, industry and market interest and support for a farmer-based cooperative to grow Tasmania’s premium timber – blackwood – with virtually no success. That lack of support says a great deal about the forest industry, our political system and also about the market. None of it is good news.”

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50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. Ted Mead

    December 9, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    #49 – What a surprise!

    Regardless of whether they come up with something that is marketable it will still be a case of spending $2 to make $1.

    STT have spent $1.5 million on consultant advice to tell them what they already know. Obtaining FSC is still a major challenge for them, but if you’ve got a blank cheque book then anything is possible’

    FSC will lose any credibility they think they have if they certify STT whilst they are intend or continue to log endangered species habitat, and logging high conservation forests.

  2. Gordon Bradbury

    December 9, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    The subsidies to the forest industry just never stop.

    Here’s another $5.5 million in taxpayers money thrown away: http://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/5110093/national-forest-research-centre-announced-for-launceston/

    Will it never end?

  3. Russell

    December 8, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Re #46
    … mouthpiece of the Deforestation Non-Profit Industry.

    (edited)

  4. Wining Pom

    December 6, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    #46 … ‘You’re just another sheep’………’Natural leaders of the mob.’

    That’s a classic.. ‘Sheep,,,,,,,,,,,leader of the mob.’

    That’s as much an oxymoron as ‘profitable Forestry Tasmania’.

  5. MjF

    December 6, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    $44 …

    You’re just another sheep langfield

    Baaaaaaaaaaaa.

    You and young spud. Natural leaders of the mob.

  6. John Hawkins

    December 6, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Poynter #41…

    I am going for it as you suggest. Tasmanian Times is a fantastic resource for research and I include you as you are the voice of a bankrupt industry.

    “A Challenge to Dr Amos”, TT 26/01/09 by John Hawkins and download the comparative map attachment of Productive Areas as compared to Reserved land.

    This distinction is the key to the lie that you and yours repetitvely peddle.

    Neither you nor Amos saw fit to comment, so will you now?

  7. Russell

    December 6, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Re Poynter, MJF and other Deforestation welfare bludgers (in my view) , I didn’t think you would answer the questions at #28.

    (edited)

  8. spikey

    December 6, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    hark
    squark squark
    smarter rats
    fled in the dark

    the rest
    mostly absurd
    too busy polishing turds
    hadn’t heard the word

    the contest
    was contested
    forestry lost
    no question

    keep up the self congratulation boys
    i’m sure you’ve almost convinced yourselves

  9. Peter Godfrey

    December 6, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    #41 Mark here is a question for you.
    Have you ever worked in a Sawmill?
    I have.
    Have you ever built your own portable sawmill?
    I have
    Have you ever operated a sawbench?
    I have
    Have you ever seen large billets left at sawmills on the mainland where the mill has cut around a termite eaten tree heart?
    You may be a forester , but I am guessing you have never been a sawmill worker.

  10. Mark Poynter

    December 6, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    #18 Pete Godfrey …

    “In Tasmania what is called defective in log grading is perfect on the Mainland”

    Wrong. Sawlog standards are based or engineered wood strength testing.

    “We don’t have termites down here that eat out the heartwood”

    No white ants, but there are piss ants that can create defect.

    “If a tree here has any rot in the heart it is immediately considered a chip log.”

    Wrong. When was the last time you graded a log?

    “Any other defects such as branches, hollows, rot, etc make it a chip log”

    Not necessarily, depends on size/extent of defect. When was the last time you graded a log?

    “On the big island they just mill around those sort of defects”

    Millers everywhere do mill around such defects when there is enough solid wood to make it economically viable to do so. Perhaps, with enough work, many chip logs could produce some sawn wood – but the cost of producing little bits and pieces of wood would be prohibitive and that miller would probably go out of business. Do you expect millers to spend more on sawing than what the sawn wood is worth?

    #33 Hawkins …

    “Most of the now so called protected forests in Tasmania are either inaccessible, or button grass plains, or above the tree line. You know that. I know that”

    Oh yeah … here we go again. For a start, 0.4 million ha of productive forest (not snow gum, buttograss) was put into the reserve system as a result of the Tas RFA process of the late 1990s. There is much more … by the way, please desist from including me in your self-delusion.

    “I produced a fully referenced article and advertisement on the matter of loggable Tasmanian forests for TT around 2007/8. I will dig it out if you wish”

    Go for it … will make for an interesting comparison with the State of the Forests Report.

    “You are lucky that over 40% of Tasmanians are innumerate or illiterate – but who cares if we spend all our spare cash on the destruction of our forests rather than the education of our people?”

    Given your obvious disdain for native Tasmanians, I’m wondering why you even live here.

    “It is all so pointless and pathetic – so why do you bother to defend the indefensible?”

    I could ask you the same question, but I think I know the answer … boredom and the need for life direction and relevance while living amongst people you mostly sneer at.

    #38 MjF … You must be Nostradamus!

  11. John Hawkins

    December 6, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Fitch #35 …

    While I am at it … one more swipe at you and yours.

    I had a corner cabinet made from the Blackwood on the wharf at Burnie – and very fine it is.

    The Greens via Kim Booth were going to pay for it and it cost me $3,800.

    The Greens failed to pay and I paid the cabinet maker.

    This project exemplifies all that is wrong with your forest industry in Tasmania.

    For SpecialTimbers to be worth anything you have come up with the money for the end product, and this in a country which pays unskilled labour a thousand dollars a week.

    George Harriss is another poser from your side of the Special Timbers paling fence.

    It is all recorded on TT: “A beautiful Corner Cabinet and the Blackwood logs on Burnie Wharf ….” 13 / 10 / 15.

    Perhaps the Editor could put in the reference.

  12. John Hawkins

    December 6, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    #35 Martin J Fitch (Mjf)

    As promised I have a series of RTI requests on Lilydale in progress – but you know that because you were the Forest Practices Officer.

    Are you behind the blocking? Yes or No will do.

    I will now appeal to the Ombudsman.

    A pond, good god man, I have three lakes in a landscape where one trims a hedge in a cottage garden and one cuts a hedge in a landscape.

    Then what would you know – you are only a Forest Practices Officer destroying our landscape.

    Fitch, stick to planning this destruction. Your side has only lost a billion dollars of our money so far.

    On another tack, and as a self confessed twitcher, have you noticed that under your watch Tasmanian native birds are fast vanishing?

    Ask a Swift Parrot (if you can find one) what it thinks of your Forest Practices Authority and its corrupt Forest Practices Officers who, without a care, prepare plans to log its habitat thereby ensuring yet another Tasmanian bird lurches into extinction.

  13. MjF

    December 6, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    #36

    Hi baby bear and helllloooooo sailor

    $37

    Rest my case.

  14. Ted Mead

    December 6, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    #35 … “Haven’t you got something better to do” – exactly!!!

    The only reason you are ranting on here is for the money!!!

    So where do your TT trolling finances come from? – the likes of – FIAT?, NAFI?, The Premiers Office?, the Abetz MIS consortium?, some form of Gay, Gray, Rolley, Gordon Foundation?, Guy’s slush fund?, or most likely sourced from a bottomless gold-plated donation tin outside the STT toilet ablution block?

    We all know it’s dirty money from whence it comes from!

  15. spikey

    December 6, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    ‘It only takes one pro Forestry poster and the tsunami arrives. So predictive.’

    c’mon fitch, fair go mate, I can count at least
    2 demented forestry apologists

    nobody else believes their
    self interested squarking

    the weight of opinion
    against them
    is indeed
    a tsunami of tasmanians

  16. MjF

    December 6, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    &29;
    Yep, kissa Hayes was the man on the bridge. Him and Wayne Spaulding from out at frankford. Spent days on end crawling around and underneath loads for nothing , even having them spread on the ground to go over.

    Not quite as pete Godfrey describes but hey, nothing wrong with an opinion.

    I’m surprised the Kim booth sawmilling trial of export Blackwood logs hasn’t been regurgitated. Where the recovered timber warped and checked and was basically valueless and this whole sham could only be justified as an exercise because the logs came free.

    $33
    Hawkins

    We bother because the good folk like you can’t resist the twitching lure.

    It only takes one pro Forestry poster and the tsunami arrives. So predictive.

    This string is a perfect example.

    Haven’t you got something better to do e.g. trimming the hawthorn or an preparing an RTI request or 2 ?

    I wish my real fishing was as productive. Have you got a stocked pond out there for special visitors ?

  17. Wining Pom

    December 6, 2017 at 11:38 am

    #33 … ‘so why do you bother to defend the indefensible?’

    Yes, people do that. Take the guy in the US who is about to launch himself in a home made rocket to prove the world is flat !!!

    And a business that’s given one billion dollars of taxpayers’ money is deemed profitable!!

    Maybe the world is flat and Forestry Tasmania is profitable.

  18. John Hawkins

    December 6, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Poynter#29 … When did Forestry Tasmania start splitting old growth forest logs before loading them for the chipper?

    Why do they do this? If you know,please explain.

    Most of the now so called protected forests in Tasmania are either inaccessible, or button grass plains, or above the tree line.

    You know that. I know that.

    Your bankrupt industry is now fighting over the remaining small area that fills the old growth subsidised log trucks with uncertified, unsaleable, loss-making Tasmanian forests at the enormous cost of over a billion dollars to all Tasmanians.

    I produced a fully referenced article and advertisement on the matter of loggable Tasmanian forests for TT around 2007/8. I will dig it out if you wish.

    The Examiner, then controlled by Gunns, would not print it – and dismal Prismall left for a cushy government PR job.

    I offered to pay for an advert in the Examiner to put my point of view. The editor Prismall would not take the payment. Interestingly the Mercury and TT ran it.

    You are lucky that over 40% of Tasmanians are innumerate or illiterate – but who cares if we spend all our spare cash on the destruction of our forests rather than the education of our people? Certainly not you Poynter, or Fitch or Lumber.

    It is all so pointless and pathetic – so why do you bother to defend the indefensible?

  19. MjF

    December 6, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Pom
    Currently it’s daytime

    Tonight it’s dark

    It’s not ?

    Must be that ‘Forestry’ accounting again.

    Yes, good point.

  20. Mike Bolan

    December 6, 2017 at 1:12 am

    #7 … Thnx Gordon.

    Yes I can see the wedge idea, and I can understand that a lot of people are invested in forestry equipment etc and so may deliver votes. I guess that makes the ‘cui bono’ group the leaders of the 3 political parties. On the Greens, I tried to have a rational discussion with some of them on the plantation debacle(s), but they wouldn’t discuss any potential problem with mono-cultures despite having support for bio-diversity in their own charter. Looks like they drank the Kool-aid! Clever of Jaakko Poyry to compromise the opposition so completely.

  21. Wining Pom

    December 6, 2017 at 12:26 am

    So MjF, all ‘Forestry Companies’ are profitable. Of course. They are subsidised by Forestry Tasmania. But is Forestry Tasmania profitable? Is Capital transfer now profit?
    And Ta Ann pays tax the same as other multi nationals. I take that to mean that they don’t pay tax.
    And MIS created jobs? For accountants that is.

    Is Gunns still good?

  22. Mark Poynter

    December 5, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    #19 MjF …

    I too have been forever bemused by claims of 60 million tonnes (!!) of burnt SST. As you say, the vgeacity doesn’t matter – just a number to impress the otherwise unsuspecting (such as Lyndall?).

    Similarly bemused by incessant claims of huge volumes of chipped sawlogs – remember one year in the early 1990s when the Forestry Tasmania inspector found all of 13 m3 of sawlog amongst the 1 million tonnes of chip logs that went over the weighbridge during that year. So that equates to 0.000013 of the total wood production. A problem for sure, but hardly a significant one.

    I know there it was more a significant problem during the 1970s when the industry began operating on private lands with few forestry/supervisory staff — but according to the armchair critics industries don’t evolve over the ensuing decades to address such issues.

  23. Russell

    December 5, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Re #14
    How about answering the questions for once?

    One thousand million dollar LOSS!

    That’s $641,025.00 EVERY week for the last 30 years!

    Where is it all?

    How can you POSSIBLY lose that much money EVERY SINGLE WEEK for 3 DECADES???!!!

  24. MjF

    December 5, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Good one Pom.

    1) All current Forestry companies in Tas are profitable except for a GBE called SST
    You make the mistake of everybody else by assuming only one operator. Rookie error.

    2) TAT now pay company tax in line with multinationals since the ATO claim to have closed a loophole allowing transfer of profits offshore. TAT were no different to BHP for example in exploiting that.

    3) MIS created 100s of jobs in the short term in that industry and continues employing many staff and contractors in harvesting, silviculture and operations .

    And as Seabrook continuously brings up, a steady stream of money flowed in to be spent locally that would never have occurred otherwise.

    Now can you tell me what the 60 million tonnes of burnt SST actually was ? Nobody else can.

  25. Mark Poynter

    December 5, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    #17 Lyndall

    Nemesis?? … we hardly know each other, but eager to engage more.

    “I note Pete’s comments (#11) about %reserve figures not being a good indicator of the state of the forests and therefore viability. I agree with him.”

    On what basis do you agree? Personal inclination or factual knowledge? It seems that you agree that it is a good tactic to make out that every forest in reserves is a snow gum woodland or button grass plain that wouldn’t produce timber anyway. But perhaps if you looked at the Tasmania State of the Forests Report 2012, you would see that 75% of dry and wet eucalypt forests are not used for timber production — I’m sorry, but them’s the facts!

    “A recent case in point I want to make is the legal logging and clear-felling of the Critically Endangered Swift Parrot breeding habitat at Tyler’s Hill a few weeks ago”

    Well done for reading the anti-logging perspective of a disaffected bird researcher and cheerleading ENGOs. However, the other side of the story was that of a 49 ha planned coupe, only about half was harvested in order to protect biodiversity values in the retained other half, including those of the Swift Parrot.

    For more on the restrictions placed on timber production in potential Swift Parrot habitat, perhaps you should read the interim Swift Parrot Planning Guideline, and also take account of the fact that much of its habitat occurs on private land that is not subject to timber production.

    “These animals ‘vote with their feet’ and choose suitable habitat to breed in Tasmania (exclusively) wherever available, but their options are fast diminishing under your preferred model of ‘sustainable’ timber harvesting by SST and its supposed maintenance of biodiversity across the entire forest reserve”

    Again – read the State of the Forests Report to put your obviously preferred beliefs into their proper perspective.

    “My understanding of ecological viability (sustainability) for forests will never be commensurate with yours. So it’s ‘never the twain shall meet’ I strongly suspect, no matter what I say or try to explain. You know best.”

    Thankyou for at least admitting that you have a closed mind in relation to this. No, I don’t know best – in case you’ve missed it, all I am trying to do is to steer you towards the established documented facts that could better inform your beliefs.

  26. mike seabrook

    December 5, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    think of all the loot extracted from the feds ( including all that non-tasmanian mis forestry cash) which kept the tassie economy afloat and the cash/gdp circulating in the economy.

    cash for not chopping down trees
    cash for planting trees

    and also cash for not building flood minimising/hydro dams
    and also cash for building irrigation dams

  27. john hayward

    December 5, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Are you OK, #22, Fitch? …

    Being as most of the SST was burnt on the spot rather than harvested, and that 94% of the reported harvest was chipped, and coupes normally clear-felled, we are wondering if you may have confused SSTs with certain species of mushrooms.

    It’s a bit like Dutton’s claim that he locks up refugees to prevent others from drowning.

    John Hayward

  28. Wining Pom

    December 5, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    A good argument to defend forestry MjF would be to promote the profit it generates. Or the taxes paid by Ta Ann. Or the jobs created in the agricultural sector by plantations from the MIS.

    Now there’s a challenge.

  29. MjF

    December 5, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Possible your conclusion a little rubbery, Jonny.

    Inappropriate to equate a specialty timbers volume against a statewide volume of shipped chips when only 7.6% of the areas collectively harvested contained SST’s

    Do you see the stupidity in your argument ?

    Therefore 92.4% of the areas harvested didn’t provide any of this legendary material.

    Followup up with TWFF would be best.

    Not to mention any annual chip volume shipped also comprised of sawmill residues and plantation sourced material.

    Can you do some more research on this one J, and come back ?

    Good start though. I feel we’re making headway.

  30. john hayward

    December 4, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    #19, MjF.You’re being overly modest about your legendary prodigality.
    60m tonnes is a pretty conservative estimate for 50 years when your woodchip harvests this century sometimes topped 5m tonnes p.a., with an equal tonnage of waste without counting all the special timbers torched on site.

    But we understand. They weren’t your trees and your employer was paying peanuts for the trees you graded as chippable rubbish yourselves.

    John Hayward

  31. spikey

    December 4, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    #16 … broken compass poynter

    ‘ So … how much saw-log is being chipped? Current figures please.’

    mate i thought you were in the inner-circle

    shouldn’t you be answering such circular questions as commercial in confidence mouthpiece?

    so we can all have a good laugh

  32. mJF

    December 4, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    #16 … M Poynter,

    Don’t you know 60,000,000 tonnes of specialty timber has been incinerated by the industry since the 1960’s ? or was it the 1970’s ?

    Hell what’s it matter, a decade or three.

    According to the research done by TWFF once upon a time.

    The old geriatric campaigner T Mead also says this is true. It must be right. No idea how he gets through the horizontal on his walking frame.

    Oddly no-one seems to know whether this was actually merchantible volume or not, but that seems not to matter.

    The number is the important bit.

    It may have been just myrtle and sassy leaves, twigs and pepper berries (you can use these in brewing stout they say) for all we know.

    Thats only the estimated specialty timbers material I’m talking about, without the trillions of m3 of eucalyptus logs that’s also been vaporised in countless convection columns.

  33. Pete Godfrey

    December 4, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    #16 … Good question, just how much saw-log is being chipped is impossible to say.
    How much potential sawlog, ie immature sawlogs is being chipped is also impossible to say.
    The reason is that it comes down to log classification.
    In Tasmania what is called defective in log grading is perfect on the Mainland.
    We don’t have termites down here that eat out the heartwood, If a tree here has any rot in the heart it is immediately considered a chip log.
    Any other defects such as branches, hollows, rot, etc make it a chip log.
    On the big island they just mill around those sort of defects.
    As most sawn wood is actually in pretty short lengths eg, Studs are only 2.5 or 2.7 metres, then it is pretty easy for a reasonable miller to get good wood from what in Tasmania is called rubbish.
    Down here any log that may be useful to a reasonable sawmill is cracked into smaller sections so that it goes into the chipper easier, and also so we don’t get to know just how much potential saw-log is being chipped.

  34. Lyndall Rowley

    December 4, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Ah, Mark (#9) … my old faithful nemesis whenever the subject of ecology, sustainability, viability and probably even biodiversity is mentioned in the same context as state forest management.

    I note Pete’s comments (#11) about %reserve figures not being a good indicator of the state of the forests and therefore viability. I agree with him. Just like ‘oils ain’t oils’, nor are forests. But you know that already.

    A recent case in point I want to make is the legal logging and clear-felling of the Critically Endangered Swift Parrot breeding habitat at Tyler’s Hill a few weeks ago. The site was known by authorities and had been a research site to study the species for a decade. It is estimated that only about 2,000 of these birds are left in the wild – that is, before this latest threatening blow happened … so the process of decline continues within these harvested ‘sustainable’ forests managed by Sustainable Timber Tasmania.

    These animals ‘vote with their feet’ and choose suitable habitat to breed in Tasmania (exclusively) wherever available, but their options are fast diminishing under your preferred model of ‘sustainable’ timber harvesting by SST and its supposed maintenance of biodiversity across the entire forest reserve.

    Clearly, we come from two completely different perspectives. My understanding of ecological viability (sustainability) for forests will never be commensurate with yours. So it’s ‘never the twain shall meet’ I strongly suspect, no matter what I say or try to explain. You know best. Therefore I’ll now leave you to argue with everyone else.

  35. Mark Poynter

    December 4, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    #15 So … how much saw-log is being chipped? Current figures please.

    Biochar would be good also, but who in their right mind – given the ENGO/Greens-induced climate of political uncertainty that forever surrounds Tasmanian native forestry (Exhibit A is this article) – would be willing to invest the $tens of millions needed to develop a biochar industry?

  36. Tim Thorne

    December 4, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    #14 … If only it were just “waste wood” that was chipped for pulp. That was the lie we were told half a century ago.

    Biomass for energy might be better than fossil fuels, but much better would be conversion by pyrolysis to biochar.

  37. Mark Poynter

    December 4, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    #4 Langfield

    Any chance of some original thought mate? You’ve used this same post on another thread – make an appropriate original comment on the actual article or stay silent.

    # 10

    Ah yes the mythical paperless office! Your view about paper and ‘climate disruption’ reflects the ENGO rhetoric of paper as an instant carbon emission. However, that view ignores the fact that the carbon obtained from harvested trees is being concurrently recouped in the sequestration of the replacement regrowth, and ignores the fact that a proportion of paper and cardboard products actually have a lengthy service life, while approximately 50% is recycled therefore prolonging the service life of its carbon content. Further to that, when disposed of in landfill, paper has been found to retain its carbon for decades. So much of the carbon contained in paper products can remain stored for lengthy periods not dissimilar to solid timber products.

    However, putting all that aside and presuming that carbon does exacerbate ‘climate disruption’ (even if it doesn’t) – it is clear that the situation could be improved by diverting the waste wood that currently goes to paper production into biomass energy production.

    Biomass is a renewable energy source that comprises up to 20% of the requirements of some European countries, but is opposed in Australia by the very same groups who claim to want to save the planet by transitioning to renewable energy. Go figure!

  38. Simon Warriner

    December 4, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    re #3, wrong question, Mike. The one we should be asking is “how do they manage to exercise such enormous influence”.

    I have a theory, but it won’t get past the editors.

  39. Mark Poynter

    December 4, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    #11

    “Or they are not forests that could be logged or in fact not forests at all”

    The first part may be partly true, but the second part is not. These reserved areas are classed as forests under the State of the Forests Report. The point is that even forests that are not productive or accessible contain biodiversity values and so it is a nonsense to claim that biodiversity values will be lost to logging, not withstanding that biodiversity is also conserved in logged and regenerated areas anyway.

    In fact, the 50% reserved figure is misleading because it is only formal reservations. There is a whole other layer of informal reservations (ie. steep slopes, streamside buffers, etc) that occur in multiple use forests that are theoretically supposedly available for timber production.

    Overall, only less than half of the multiple use State Forests are actually being used for wood supply.

  40. Pete Godfrey

    December 4, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    #8, The problem with bandying the 50% of forest reserved figure about is that it is very deceptive.
    Most of the reserved forests are in areas that either are inaccessible. Eg, On cliffs, Karst areas, swamps etc.
    Or they are not forests that could be logged or in fact not forests at all.
    No one would suggest logging Pencil Pine for instance.
    No one in their right mind would suggest that we could continually cut down Huon Pine either. Then again those who run the State and use Huon Pine do not fall into the former category.
    It is also not easy to log button grass plains but as they often contain the odd snow gum they are classed as forests in the reserve figure.
    For the sake of accuracy don’t use Tasmania’s reserves in the argument.

  41. Tim Thorne

    December 4, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    The major problem (among many) with the industry is the predominant end product.

    The use of trees for the manufacture of paper exacerbates climate disruption. “Sustainable” in FT’s new moniker is a lie because of this. Both economically and environmentally the historical record and current practice also hardly deserve the epithet.

    Community forestry is part of the answer. Globally, paper use is declining anyway. Locally, the employment argument doesn’t stack up. Plantations of exotic species are always going to present ecological problems.

  42. Mark Poynter

    December 4, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    #4 Lyndall … “Your article is lent even more authority given your forester perspective and experience. Clearly, if left in the hands of any of the current political parties the viable future of Tasmania’s precious forests is foreshortened and grim. I fear mostly for ongoing ecological viability … ”

    With all due respect to Gordon, a true forester’s perspective would include the reality that most of Tasmania’s forests aren’t used for wood production. In fact, Tasmania has one of the highest rates of forest reservation in the world.

    Accordingly your fears that native forestry threatens the ecological viability of forests are unfounded when it is appreciated that around two-thirds of the state’s forests (collectively on both public and private land) will not be used for producing wood.

  43. Mark Poynter

    December 4, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    “For the past 7 years I’ve been attempting to generate political, industry and market interest and support for a farmer-based cooperative to grow Tasmania’s premium timber – blackwood – with virtually no success. That lack of support says a great deal about the forest industry, our political system and also about the market. None of it is good news.”

    Gordon … If it makes you feel better, attempts to get private tree grower co-operatives off-the-ground in other states have also failed.

    Growing trees commercially on private land has an inherent problem that it requires lots of capital up-front to establish the trees and then a decades-long and uncertain wait for a return. If you want to do it under the banner of a growers cooperative, the members have to additionally pay annual fees to employ someone to manage the trees and administer the co-op (presumably that would be you in this case).

    Understandably, when faced with decades of such annual payments for nothing tangible in return for decades into the future (and perhaps not at all if the trees don’t grow as hoped) many prospective co-op members think better of the idea.

    Therefore, to get a cooperative up and running requires some sort of government and/or industry assistance ie. a subsidy … yet from what I’ve read of your many TT posts (as well as those in this site’s regular anti-forestry rants) you are strongly opposed to industry subsidies … yet now it seems you having spent the past 7 years trying to get one!

    Isn’t this just a tad hypocritical?

    Further to this you have gone on to say: “The only possible answer to this crisis is to transition the forest industry to a fully commercial business model based on profitable private tree growers, and to shut down public native forestry.”

    Again, you are effectively advocating a massive government subsidy on the one hand, while on the other hand you have spent years regularly decrying the subsidies supposedly given to forestry.

    I ask again: Isn’t this just a tad hypocritical?

  44. Gordon Bradbury

    December 4, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Mike (#3) … we know why the LibLabs support public native forestry.

    It’s called wedge politics.

    But why The Greens support public native forestry is another question. Maybe they are trying to avoid being wedged, and aren’t creative enough to come up with a viable alternative that the community might accept.

    We need a market boycott to shut this disaster down.

  45. Lyndall Rowley

    December 4, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    I sense from some TT reader’s comments that people are increasingly distressed by the way Tasmania is (still) heading and they are sick and tired of the poor governments they are getting.

    I propose something for TT readers’ (voters’) consideration .. this is also me thinking ‘aloud’ on paper, and is only roughly thought through…

    This is an open plea for TTers to nominate, invite, ask, cajole (or consider themselves) people they know who would be a good Independent candidate for the upcoming election early next year. This could also include existing party politicians who may consider jumping ship and becoming an Independent provided they knew they had solid support.

    The how-to’s and what to do’s for new-comers could perhaps be covered through mentorship by Ivan Dean MP and/or Andrew Wilkie MP or even ex-Senator Jacqui Lambie, or any others TTers can think of to help show new Independent candidates the ropes.

    Applications to become a political candidate are online (AEC website). Lots of background info is also there. Of course, at the time of nomination the candidate must not be a dual citizen! See for a start: http://www.aec.gov.au/Elections/candidates/overview.htm

    TT and other supporters could support applications via crowd-funding for entry fees. I’m sure there are mainlanders like myself who would like to contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly government in Tasmania.

    The resultant new Independents could perhaps be more efficient and effective by forming a loose affiliation. David Obendorf mentioned this earlier in TT ‘Misrepresentation, Lies…’ #17 in relation to an affiliated group (environmentally focussed) in Tasmanian State Government back in the late 80s. They held 5 lower house (?) seats and had the balance of power.

    In my coarse understanding of how governments work, a majority is not the aim (although ultimately ideal) but the balance of power is. If both houses could be populated with this ‘critical mass’ of Independents, all the better. The Senate would be better than nothing, but the lower house with these Independents holding the balance of power would be best.

    I know this is easy for me to say, but nothing is going to change unless people act, and if enough people organise themselves I don’t see why this is not achievable.

  46. Lyndall Rowley

    December 4, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Thank you for writing this Gordon. As a casual reader from the mainland (Victoria) I find this story very disturbing. Your article is lent even more authority given your forester perspective and experience. Clearly, if left in the hands of any of the current political parties the viable future of Tasmania’s precious forests is foreshortened and grim. I fear mostly for ongoing ecological viability; but your take on sustainability with the economics as an indicator is a far more easily understood (and acceptable) message.

    It would seem that the history and political setting for the treatment of Tasmania’s forests only adds to the even grimmer broader picture of the very poor governance of Tasmania in general.

    Add the standard of governance and management of Tasmania’s forests to others across a number of government (post Lab or current Lib) portfolios and government departments, and I suspect the list would be long and, in some cases, come with serious implications that are yet to be addressed.
    For example:
    DPIPWE’s fox eradication program. (See TT articles for info including an extensive list of people involved such as MPs, Parliamentary Secretary & Deputy, various DPIPWE management and staff, police, etc etc);
    The logging of known Swift Parrot habitat. (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-12/endangered-swift-parrot-nesting-boxes-destroyed-in-logging/9142214);
    DPIPWE chief officer Peter Mooney inappropriately favouring one applicant in a ferry tender process. (see TT article ‘Misrepresentation, Lies…’ #280, & http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-04/questions-over-pws-ex-chief-involvement-in-maria-island-ferry/9223824 );
    EPA inappropriately assisting a quarry proponent with its application. (see TT article ‘Misrepresentation, Lies…’ #280).
    TasTAFE, Tasmanian Health Organisation, DPaC – see mentions of nepotism, conflicts of interest, improper processes and/or misuse of government credit cards in TT article ‘Misrepresentation, Lies…’ #251.

    This is just a sample and I won’t try to complete the list, but as a casual reader of TT I can see there are plenty more. Memories flood in of Gunns, pulp mills, wood chipping, power supply, hydro scheme, hospitals, aquaculture (Tassal) etc all feature in a poor light over time regardless of which party is in government. I invite other readers to add their own issues that relate to poor government and governance, poor policies, poor government oversight and poor departmental management.

    END pt 1 of 2.

  47. Russell

    December 4, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    MJF, RCH and Poynter can spin their lies as much as they like but the reality is that FT/STT (same pig, different lipstick) has lost over ONE BILLION dollars.

    One thousand million!

    That’s $641,025.00 EVERY week for the last 30 years!

    Where is it all?

    How can you POSSIBLY lose that much money EVERY SINGLE WEEK for 3 DECADES!!!

    ICAC!

  48. Mike Bolan

    December 4, 2017 at 11:35 am

    John Lawrence’s fine work has always provided illumination about what is happening where all is otherwise dark,yet there remains the big question “Why?”.
    Why are all parties so grimly dedicated to getting forestry policy wrong? Why are they so determined to support ‘exceptions’ for forestry that lead to so many adverse effects? Why pour so much public money into a sure loser like forestry when it is so badly needed by health and similar areas?

    Evidently some people are getting serious benefits from the current situation and those parties have unparalleled influence over politicians and bureaucrats alike.
    “Who are they and why do they have so much influence?” seem like questions we should be addressing, particularly if, like Gordon, we are seeking to stimulate some useful change.

  49. Ted Mead

    December 4, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Forestry in Tasmania has, and always will, be about pillage and plundering of a finite resource in an unsustainable manner to the benefit of very few.

    This is being done with little vision towards even securing a sawlog industry.

    Like Gordon claims, the begging bowl for bloated snouts in the trough is far too deep for them to ever be retracted!

    If you think voting for the Greens at the next election will change it all, then you are suffering from extreme delusion.

    Even if the state finances delve deep into insurmountable future debt you can rest assure that not much will change.

    STT is like a reoccurring nightmare, trashing our heritage, poisoning our environment and breaking down our essential services with its debt. Everyone knows this is happening but it never changes. Why?

    We truly do live with a third world mentality!

  50. john hayward

    December 4, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Gordon is clearly right. The Tasmanian political culture is too ossified to shake off its kleptocratic nature and embrace the long-term interests of the greater society.

    Like Zimbabwe, Tas exhibits some discomfort with this affliction, but it’s insufficient to shift a hardened apathetic ignorance.

    Long ago, an earlier race of dominant dinosaurs was removed by an asteroid strike, but they lacked the deviousness which sustains the present hegemons.

    John Hayward

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