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


The short-term thinking …

*Pic: Image from here: Tigercat tracked harvester delimbing and topping a felled E. nitens stem during the SMZ harvesting study. Note the slash coverage remaining in the harvested area (photo by Daniel G. Neary)

First published July 3

On June 26th community group Save Our South organised a public meeting in Dover to raise awareness on the Proposal by Southwood Fibre for an 800,000 processing & export facility in the Huon Valley.

This was the fifth public meeting in Dover and the second chaired by Malcom Wells since the proposal was announced in November 2017.

Approximately 70 residents turned out to hear presentations by six speakers in the Dover school hall.

Wren Fraser Cameron spoke from the perspective of someone who has seen the development and importance of Aquaculture grow in the region over the past 30 years.

Her husband, who is an environment officer in the industry, strongly agrees with Tassal’s public statements that this proposal is not compatible with their operations in Port Esperance.

Local Architect, Gillian Richards gave a brief overview of the details of what is proposed and an update on the current situation of the development approval application.

Dr David de Little gave a review of the pros and cons of Nitens plantation timber and its potential uses and failings.

David’s presentation aimed to show the short-term thinking around focusing on woodchip production alone from the valuable timber resource Tasmania still has. He also spoke of the lack of land in the south for viable long-term plantation production.

Vica Bayley, campaign manager from the Wilderness Society showed data of the apparent significant shortfall of plantation timber within the radius of 180km to supply the facility in the near and longer-term future.

It was clear from Sustainable Timber Tasmania’s data quantity proposed for this facility would require the use of planation, state government residues and native forest supplied from as far away as the East Dewent region.

Yes, through Hobart.

Gary Ashdown, owner of a local award-winning bed and breakfast and president of the Far South Tourism Association spoke of the enormous and rapidly growing tourism industry in Tasmania.

He passionately described the transformation and economic growth seen in recent years because of nature-based tourism and how these values would be seriously impacted by this proposal.

Retired Scientist Arthur Clarke spoke of the serious biosecurity and pollution risks proposed by allowing internationally flagged ships into these waters.

He documented the ship size ranging from between 180 to 200m long (40,000 to 52,000 DWT). Up to three and a half times the length of the largest marine traffic in the area at present.

He also poignantly told of how the lack of harbour control on site further puts at risk the locality because of a serious lack of independent oversite of the site.

With the view to the future long term Local Resident Sandra Garland spoke of seeing the rise and fall of the community due to the community losing control of the natural resources and industries over the decades.

She also presented winners for a Save Our South competition which asked the community for a better vision for the future that would benefit all.

Following the formal presentations, the audience was invited to ask questions and to review the documents detailing the proposal. More than half of the audience stayed beyond this time to continue the discussions.

Throughout the month of June meetings have also been held in Cygnet, Bruny Island, Huonville and Hobart chaired by Jenny Weber from the Bob Brown Foundation. It is becoming clear that awareness and concern is growing right across and beyond the valley.

This concern is creating unprecedented agreement from industry, green and community groups, proving that the impacts of this proposal far outway any conceivable benefit.

Save Our South invited representatives from Southwood Fibre and Tassal to speak but they were unable to attend.

Presentations, ‘Ideas for the Future Winners’ and further information on the concerns around this proposal can be found at farsouthfuture.org.

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


  1. Mjf

    July 10, 2018 at 2:04 pm


    Thanks Arthur

    I have a basic understanding of the principles and practices involved.

    I was keen to understand whether the protocols and applications are adequate and adhered to.

    So you’re saying they are not and are at times, even avoided.

    Clearly then Reg 2-D will be a badly needed step in the right direction.

    So what is the current situation with Tasmanian ports today ?

    Are they all over run with foreign invasive nasties which are rapidly spreading ?

    Or is the introduction of exotic pests via shipping to Tasmanian ports a possibility but not a necessarily a given ?

    Or more likely in some ports/facilities that others ?

    Burnie springs to mind. There’s an ongoing mix of Australian and International shipping. What lies on and around the bottom there ?

  2. Arthur Clarke

    July 10, 2018 at 3:31 am

    #5, My apologies for my delayed response.

    Martin, you have to understand that large ocean-going bulk cargo vessels need to carry ballast water in their empty cargo holds to maintain stability and “trim”, especially while in exposed open waters. Ballast water is just one of 3 or 4, possibly 5 ways in which invasive marine pests (both plant and animal species) can be introduced from shipping vessels into our seas and adjoining waterways.

    The waters of a new port development (or woodchip loading facility, such as that proposed at Strathblane) will provide a natural medium for the introduction of invasive marine pests to establish. It just so happens that the bay of Port Esperance, surrounded by Strathblane and Dover, is home to several forms of well-established aquaculture .. mainly oyster and mussel farming, plus the lucrative Tasmanian salmon industry.

    Ballast water may contain oil, bacteria, algae or other marine plants, plus marine organisms including the egg, embryo or immature larval stage of marine invertebrates often taken on board in international waters. Ballast water taken from one ecological zone (eg the South China Sea) then discharged it into another (eg Tasmanian seas or estuaries) can introduce invasive species. Bio-invasion is 1 of the 4 greatest threats facing the world’s oceans today.

    International cargo ships are required to prevent the transfer of invasive nasties from foreign waters. The international protocols for ballast water management set by IMO (International Maritime Organisation) and the equivalent Australian legislation, are woefully inadequate, are often not followed correctly and sometimes avoided.

    The most common technique is to undertake an exchange of ballast waters in the oceans of the countries where the cargo ships are headed. Under our legislation, this is referred to as Regulation D1 (Exchange Standard). When ships are steaming through extremely rough or heavy seas, they are often unable to do a ballast exchange until reaching sheltered waters, sometimes not until close to, or actually at the port of call.

    A new Regulation (D‐2 Treatment Discharge Standard) now applies to new shipping vessels constructed on or after 8th September 2017. Treatment methods include UV disinfection and chlorination to remove, kill and/or inactivate organisms prior to ballast water discharge. Ships constructed before September 2017 (around 60,000 cargo ships worldwide) need to comply with Reg D‐2 by either first or second five‐year IOPP (International Oil Pollution Prevention) certificate renewal-survey. The final date for this process is not until 8th September 2024.

    It’s not just international shipping either. There is also the Australian domestic ballast water management information system (ABWMIS) which aims to reduce the likelihood of marine pests being spread from one Australian port to another via ballast water. The rules and regulations governing domestic shipping are administered by the Australian Govt’s Dept. of Agriculture and Water Resources, represented by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

  3. Geoffrey Swan

    July 9, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    #24 … I can only leave you to draw your own conclusions, Martin.

    I do have an email address for Arthur Clarke. I will send him a request.

  4. Mjf

    July 9, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    #23 … Hmmmmm. It’s not only the proponent who is putting up the information shutters.

  5. Geoffrey Swan

    July 9, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    #19 … That surprises me, Martin.

    In the short time I have known Arthur I have personally found him to be very keen and willing to share his knowledge and research.

    I can only wonder if the FSF group are being overly precious, and are for some reason censuring Arthur. I did note a recent TT article “Forestry trucks every 5 minutes” was initially written and posted by “Barbara” from the FSF group, however it was promptly re-posted as coming from their President, Rachael Trueman.

    Perhaps it’s all to do with small community power play, and not the way to win this war.

    IMV, the best way to battle through these issues is to openly share information and allow for debate, which is one of the many benefits of TT.

  6. Mjf

    July 8, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    #19 … I have been advised by FSF that the Clarke material is unavailable.

  7. Pete Godfrey

    July 6, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    While you are looking for invasive species that have been introduced by ballast water in ships, look no further than the Pacific Starfish.
    Just a walk along the wharves in Salamanca will give you an insight into how invasive they are. They have been linked to population crashes in the Spotted Handfish.
    Have a look for yourselves at: http://www.abc.net.au/science/slab/starfish/default.htm

  8. MjF

    July 6, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    GS … Goodoh, done that.

    Re jellyfish, I believe it. You oughta see the bluebottles washed up here every day.

  9. Geoffrey Swan

    July 6, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    #18 … I suggest you send a request to the Far South Group, Martin. They have posted two of the presentations online at http://www.farsouthfuture.org/community-meetings.html. I thought Arthur’s presentation was sound. The contact is: http://www.farsouthfuture.org/contact-us.html

    Let me recommend a great read Martin .. it’s “Stung” by Lisa-Ann Gershwin. Jellyfish have lived on this planet for 500 million years, and they are taking over our waterways.

  10. MjF

    July 6, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    #16 … Thank you, Geoffrey.

    I am particularly interested in the current degradation status of waters at our international ports of Port Latta, Burnie, Devonport, Bell Bay, Longreach (loading facilities) and Hobart. Include ex ports at Electrona and Whale Point in that, too.

    Are these all degraded as a result of bilge water, ballast and hull fouling from visiting ships ? And if not, what’s so unique about Port Esperance in terms of water quality and marine life that makes it so susceptible ?

    I recall some years ago an invasive Japanese seaweed getting a stranglehold along the East Coast which was blamed on woodchip vessels coming to Triabunna.I don’t how how credible this was but it was certainly convenient.

    Is his presentation not available somewhere ?

  11. Geoffrey Swan

    July 6, 2018 at 2:31 am

    #12 … Met with John Livermoore at the Hobart round of the woodchip meetings last week. He is extremely knowledgeable on transport, and very up to speed with rail transport.

    His concept of reviving the rail line is highly credible and needs to be considered. Getting all the diesel fuelled trucks off our roads has got to be a big plus in terms of cost, our environment’s welfare, and just plain common sense.

    My personal comment to John is we need to be thinking of transporting feeder logs by rail, and not woodchip. There is already the facility in Burnie for chipping and loading chip that has been processed at Southwood and that is too much double handling, IMV.

  12. Geoffrey Swan

    July 6, 2018 at 2:25 am

    #15 … It is really not for me to speak on behalf of Arthur, Martin. Not sure why he or Gillian are not providing ongoing commentary. Nothing to hide.

    However, in the spirit of TT and a sharing of knowledge I feel obliged. Having seen Arthur’s very credible PowerPoint presentation on one occasion, and knowing a little of his professional stevedoring background, his knowledge, research and science on this subject is perhaps without equal.

    The JNS proposal is flawed in so many ways, not the least getting a 40,000 tonne vessel into Port Esperance and out again without having any material impact to our waters from ballast and bilge waters. It is to me akin to Shipping 101.

  13. MjF

    July 5, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    Arthur Clarke doesn’t seem to be responding. That’s a shame, I would like to know more about his claims.

  14. Alan Mason

    July 5, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    #12 … A bit behind the times ..

    Encyclopedia of Australian Science
    The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Forestry was formed in 2005 to continue the work of two former CRCs: CRC for Temperate Hardwood Forestry (1991-1997) and the CRC for Sustainable Production Forestry (1997-2005). The CRC for Forestry’s research is focused upon supporting environmentally sustainable, cost competitive, eucalypt plantation and native forestry. The CRC for Forestry closed in June 2013 after an unsuccessful bid for an extension of Commonwealth funding.

  15. MjF

    July 5, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    #12 … I imagine they’ve undertaken their research, Halton.

    Would you invest $190 M in a mill, and just make it up as you went along when the logs you think you need start turning up ? I wouldn’t, and I doubt Hermel are in a position to be exerting too much political influence just yet.

    Re CRC, they closed in 2013 when funding ran out.

    Ask PFT who’s doing current research (if any). They might have a handle on it.

  16. Robin Charles Halton

    July 5, 2018 at 11:44 am

    #11 … Thank you Swannie.

    #11 and #10 MJF … Did either of you read the report in yesterdays Mercury page 23 … “Derwent rail an alternative to woodchip port”?

    The question is against the $42 M for the establishment of the Dover woodchip project, what would it cost to rehabilitate the DVR line to freight woodchips from Karanja to Boyer!

    Beyond Boyer to Bridgewater the rail line is currently being used to freight pine logs to Norske Skog from up north, as I understand!

    #10 MJF … specifically, has Hermel been able to trial HWP nitens for producing panels as is claims, or is this just a thought option to utilise +30 yr old pruned stands?

    I tried to contact CRC Forestry at UTAS in Hobart yesterday to find the latest with research, but they no longer exist at the Hobart uni.

    Where to now re latest HWP nitens Research?

    #6, Russell … that’s where I am stuck at the moment!

  17. Geoffrey Swan

    July 4, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    #2 … Malcolm Wells is not who or what you think Robin .. no alignment either way, I believe. Simply a person with MC experience is my understanding.

  18. MjF

    July 4, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    #9 …

    a. YEs

    b. 100%

    c. From whoever owns some, eg New Forests, Reliance Fibre, STT, RMS and others.

  19. Russell

    July 4, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Re #8 … Are they going to be using nitens though?

    If so, what percentage, and where from?

  20. MjF

    July 3, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    #6 … The Hermal Group are investing $190 M at Hampshire to establish Australia’s largest plantation hardwood timber mill.

    That should tell you something about nitens … then again, maybe not.

  21. Robin Charles Halton

    July 3, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Gillian Richards from SoS, if you would not mind … who is the spruiker, Malcolm Wells? some more detail on who is who would be much appreciated!

    There is no question the volume of HWP wood to be shifted in a timely manner to coincide with regular thinning regimes is already taking place, particularly with the high investment pruned stands on the Crown.
    Expectations will be high to scale up the task to a higher degree for extraction and cartage.

    Look out Hobart .. assuming Dover does not make the grade as a port.

    The Hobart city councillors will be having kittens given the anticipated traffic movements through the Macquarie-Davey St highways onto the partly already congested inner Brooker Hwy.

    Some outward log traffic should be able to use the Plenty Link Road coming from extensive HWPs within the Russell, Denison and Barnback forest blocks.

    I would suspect that some improvements along the PLR will need to take place first to facilitate a more efficient movement of traffic coming out onto the Gordon River Road/ Glenora road at Bushy Park.

    There are some blind sections along Glenora Road near the Plenty bridge that will require a better alignment, or at least a better line of sight, as there will be a fair bit more tourist traffic heading to MFNP during summer.

    Lots of foreign tourists and log trucks is not a good mix heading as B doubles heading towards Norfik.

    Port of Dover may be the best fix overall.

  22. Russell

    July 3, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Re #2 and #3 … “What we need to know is if it (nitens) has any potential to produce high quality sawn timber”

    If find it incredible that Tasmanian forest ‘scientists’ never did any research BEFORE they started planting these weeds.

    Tell you what though, I understand it’s excellent firewood. I’ve been informed it keeps the oven at a very steady temperature for cooking long after shutting it down.

    I repeat, the plantations would generate more profit being sold as firewood than to waste on wiping people’s backsides or newspapers.

  23. MjF

    July 3, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    #4 … Steel hulled international shipping is, and has been, using Tasmanian ports for many years.

    Is the international convention and onboard protocols for ballast water management etc, which shipping is meant to comply with, inadequate ?

    Will Tasports have control over all the seaward aspects of this facility wherever it ends up ?

  24. Arthur Clarke

    July 3, 2018 at 1:02 am

    Gillian Richards has not mentioned the key elements of my presentation on biosecurity concerns with regard to the proposed woodchip loading facility near Dover, namely the three main concerns or risks from international shipping: the introduction of invasive (plant or animal) species from (a) ballast waters and (b) hull fouling, and (c) bilge water … with the potential to severely impact our marine environment and adjoining waterways.

  25. MjF

    July 2, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Halton … better ask Vica Bayley. He seems to know all about the resource.

  26. Robin Charles Halton

    July 2, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    Who is Malcolm Wells? A representative of NSP with forestry and road engineering background perhaps?

    The use of nitens other than as a pulp mill feed stock seems to be the question! As far as I know, no saw-miller in Tasmania or Victoria has cut HWP nitens for high quality eucalypt timber. Native grown nitens has been cut for timber in Victoria.

    What we need to know is if it has any potential to produce high quality sawn timber as native grown regnans and obliqua does, the earliest age being around 60 years.

    It’s a question as whether or not to carry out two successive thinnings of HWP nitens before a final clear-fell at age X or simply clear-fell at age 30 primarily for export chip.

    I take it that David de Little is the same person who has worked in the past with AFH and North Forests in the forest research at Ridgley NW Coast.

    Some more detail on the future of HWP in the south of the state would be appreciated! HWP areas available especially those that have been pruned, ages, yields and area statements have to come into play to assess forest potential for local industry if any prospects are there to thin for a final crop at a later stage, possibly around age 60 years when timber is actually starting to mature!

  27. MjF

    July 2, 2018 at 5:53 pm


    Conclusion: Forest harvesting operations can be conducted in SMZs, without increasing stream turbidity, if existing BMPs are followed.

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