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Forestry Tasmania – Log Truck Activity

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Tags: Native Forest Logging, Log Trucks

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, as you can imagine people from all over the island get in touch with us when they are concerned about the impact of native forest logging. We have had a significant volume and up tick in communication from people at all points of the compass, concerned about what they believe is a significant increase in log truck activity and also in the size of the logs on the back of those trucks. There is a report here from Burnie, 'the increase has been quite substantial to sometimes one about every minute.' That is on the Bass Highway near Burnie.

There is a report here from the Huon Highway near Vinces Saddle, Longley, 'I live at Longley 40 plus years and have observed a very noticeable increase in log truck movements on the Huon Highway. They number around one in every five to 10 minutes during the day'.

Here is one from Scottsdale, 'I am a bus driver on the Launceston to Scottsdale run and am seeing a massive increase in log truck activity. Some of the logs are obviously plantation trees but there are heaps of massive trees as well. I have never seen so many log trucks. What is happening?'

We have another one here, 'I am on the roads every day near Cressy. Why are most of the log trucks carrying split large logs on log trucks?' They think they are saw mill quality and on it goes.

We got a call just this morning from a woman who lives in the Huon who reported very large logs on the back of trucks. So from all points of the compass we are hearing that log trucks have substantially increased, as has the size of the trees. Can you confirm that?

Mr BARNETT - Clearly you are greatly disappointed, based on the foundation of the question, in positivity and increased interest and involvement, based on your feedback and evidence, of those involved in the forest industry. As I've answered in the parliament some weeks ago, and I think the CEO can outline, the operations of the industry are ongoing. There has been no massive rise or reduction, but the CEO can add further detail. You are clearly very disappointed in the positivity and activity of those in the forest industry in different parts of rural and regional Tasmania.

Ms O'CONNOR - It is true I am sad to see beautiful carbon-rich, biodiverse forests smashed into the ground in a time of climate and biodiversity crisis.

Mr BARNETT - I will pass to the CEO.

Mr WHITELEY - From an overall point of view there hasn't been an increase in production but some things have changed, particularly in the Huon with Ta Ann being suspended, as we discussed before, where there will be logs flowing up to the export port that otherwise would have been processed into veneer sheets. Somebody living on the highway would notice that -

Ms O'Connor - Cressy, Scottsdale - all points of the compass.

Mr WHITELEY- I'm happy to go round the state if you like. In the Huon clearly some logs have been coming up the highway that would otherwise have been processed in the Huon Valley. Likewise there have been some plantations that were fire damaged that are coming so that's clearly a difference that people might notice. Around the state, if there is an increase it's probably from the private sector, I'd think. There was a very busy plantation period. I don't know really what farmers are doing but if you look at our numbers there hasn't been an overall increase. It's probably due to those sorts of local factors where people may observe something different but it's not structural.