Revelations this week that the Dover woodchip port will be ‘initially’ supplied from hardwood plantations confirms the analysis that the project would be heavily reliant on native forest woodchips and require the passage of significant volumes of trucks carrying plantations through Hobart and down the Southern Outlet.

An analysis of 2014 data supplied by Forestry Tasmania and Private Forests Tasmania (below) demonstrates that the 800,000 tonne export target simply cannot be economically supplied without drawing on native forests and plantations east of Hobart. While the DA discusses truck movements between Southwood and the proposed port (many hundreds each day) if contains no transparency about the supply of logs to Southwood, including those that must come though the main streets of Hobart.

“This woodchip port would rely heavily on native forests logging and increase the amount of log truck traffic through Hobart,’ said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society.

“Native forest logging in Tasmania remains unsustainable, demonstrated by the failure of Forestry Tasmania to achieve the globally recognised FSC certification. Worse still, Premier Hodgman proposes to reverse important forest reserves on Bruny Island, the Tasman Peninsula and at Wielangta, increasing woodchip production and creating another future supply for the Dover woodchip port.

Revelations that the multi-national corporation that purchased Forestry Tasmania plantations in a fire–sale considers itself a partner in the port project signals a major profit-based driver for this proposal. Now owners of a woochip mill and port in the Tamar Valley, Reliance Forest Fibre can instantly increase the profitability of its plantation purchase by saving on northern transport costs and exporting direct from Dover.

“While it’s well understood that this woodchip port essentially sacrifices the serenity and amenity of Dover, less well known is the fact the company that bought public plantations for a song will earn an extra $30+ per tonne if they can export them out of the south.

“These plantations were bought in the full knowledge there was not a southern export port and a Government report had ruled out the viability of any options south of Hobart.

“Given the revelations Reliance considers itself a partner in the project, this begs the question, exactly what Government promises re a Dover port were made to entice Reliance into the plantation sale?”
Vica Bayley Tasmanian Campaign Manager The Wilderness Society (Tasmania) Inc.