Sarah Courtney, Minister for Resources
The Hodgman Liberal Government supports the forestry industry as a foundation of the Tasmanian economy and employer of more than 5700 people.
Today I have announced an initial package of strategic infrastructure measures that will support the sustainability of our Southern production forests. This has been informed by the work of forest industry leader, Evan Rolley.
The industry in southern Tasmania was hit by the closure of the Triabunna export facility under the previous Labor-Green Government and, more recently, the bushfires that have impacted production forest in the Huon Valley, and temporarily shut down the Southwood processing mills.
Firstly, the Government is committed to maintaining the long-term availability of the Port of Hobart as a working port, and Macquarie Wharf will continue to be an export port for break-bulk and containerised wood products. The exclusion of woodchips for export from the Port of Hobart will continue.
The use of the Port of Hobart as a working port is entirely consistent with the Government’s aspirations for this precinct, including Antarctic and Southern Ocean research, cruise ship visitation and the plans for Macquarie Point.
This brings to a close the exploration of alternative port options in the State’s south for the export of southern forest residues.
We are also working with TasRail to increase both the capacity and efficiency of moving forestry freight from south to north, including a new loading facility at Parattah, near Oatlands, and investment in rolling stock and increased operations at Brighton. This will see extra wagons dedicated for forest products and an expansion of rail services to meet demand.
When opened, the new loading facility at Parattah will provide a dedicated facility to load wood from the southern forests. This rail boost will provide a link to the northern Tasmania Forestry Hub, recently announced by the Prime Minister.
These new initiatives demonstrate that the Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to a strong and sustainable forest sector in Tasmania, which will give industry the certainty and confidence it needs to make long-term investment decisions.
Further initiatives are also being actively considered in the context of the recent fires. The Government continues to work closely with STT, private growers, the Bushfire Recovery Coordinator and the broader industry and will evaluate other options as the extent of the resource impact is understood
The Rolley Report is available at: www.stategrowth.tas.gov.au/energy_and_resources/forestry/residues