Resources Minister, Paul Harriss, must undertake a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of the potential revenue and employment opportunities of the state’s hardwood plantation estate before progressing the sale of this asset, Greens Leader and Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP.
“The Minister’s failure to confirm that a comparative cost benefit analysis of the revenue, loss and job projections between Forestry Tasmania’s native forest logging operations and the hardwood plantation estate, clearly signals this fundamental due diligence work has not been done,” Mr Booth said.
“It is also clear that the Minister is deliberately and irresponsibly entrenching a commercially-loss making operation with his failure to require Forestry Tasmania to move to a full cost-recovery business model.”
“Deloitte’s advice to the Steering Committee clearly states that Forestry Tasmania, ‘does not currently fully cover the long run marginal costs of sawlog production, such as roads, regeneration and overheads’, yet the Minister, in absence of a real plan forward, is locking in this failed business model.”
“The Steering Committee Report also states that the, ‘market outlook for native forest pulpwood is expected to remain challenging for the next five to seven years given the market preference for and availability of plantation pulpwood’.”
“The Minister must publicly commit to this cost-benefit comparison between native forest and plantation sectors before progressing in any way his announced sale of the hardwood plantation estate, given his own report’s identification that this is where the market preference lies.”
“Otherwise, Minister Harriss should just come clean and state that he is deliberately locking in the current failed native forest logging business model, while selling off the only potential timber revenue raiser.”
“This report clearly demonstrates that native forest logging has been a losing proposition since 2008-09, and that it will continue to be a losing proposition.”
“The only feasible reason for Minister Harriss to deliberately choose to lock Tasmania into a losing and uncompetitive commercial operation is his ideological and sheer bloody-minded obsession with trashing our native forests.”
“This Forestry Tasmania Review report already exposes the Hodgman Liberals’ claim they had a forestry plan as a shameless sham, it is an admission of failure by Minister Harriss, and it raises many more questions over the fate of Forestry Tasmania and its ongoing impact on the State’s budget bottom line than it answers.”