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TasRail – Resources Contracts

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Tags: TasRail, Mining, Native Forest Logging

Ms O'CONNOR - On page 10 of the annual report notes that TasRail has entered into a new contract with a resources company that successfully started operations in 2020-21. Are you able to provide the information, minister, on what company we're talking about?

Mr DIETRICH - Thanks, Ms O'Connor, I'm happy to answer that, minister. That new customer is Intec Zeehan. Intec Zeehan is effectively processing tailings from Zeehan. We've entered into a two-year contract with them to provide services. Their volumes are, I think about half a million tonnes over the two years. It's a remediation of a site, which is very much a positive -

Ms O'CONNOR - Which is a good thing, yes.

Minister, the annual report also notes that TasRail has identified the forestry sector as an opportunity for ongoing growth. Are you able to elaborate? What sort of increase in volume are you expecting? Where are you expecting to transport the majority of this volume from? Can you provide any details on whether that's native forest or plantation timber?

Mr FERGUSON - I will commence the answer and invite Mr Dietrich to add to it. In terms of the nature of the forest product, that won't be my expertise but I'm happy to support the committee in the best way we can.

The forestry sector continues to be a key area of focus for TasRail. From modest beginnings in 2013, TasRail continues to grow its services to the industry. In recent years TasRail increased its capacity for industry by rebuilding an existing log-loading siding at Parratah that hadn't been used since 1989, and working with a new major customer to build a second discharge siding at Bell Bay.

This provides out industry with two loading sites in the south and two discharge sidings at Bell Bay. TasRail also installed specialised truck weigh bridges at Parratah and Brighton, that provide accurate and timely data to its forestry customers. In the financial year under scrutiny, TasRail had commitments with four customers to provide haulage services from the south to Bell Bay. My advice is this resulted in TasRail hauling 172 000 tonnes of logs, just 2400 tonnes, equating to three trains, less than the record log performance in 2019-20. So that's really great news.

COVID-19 and export market issues were a challenge in 2020-21. However, the sector is rebounding for TasRail and is forecasting another record log haulage in the next financial year.

I don’t know if you have anything further to add in terms of origin and species types, Mr Dietrich?

Mr DIETRICH - This has been a very important strategic part of our business in terms of growth and also around safety on roads for Tasmania. We've moved from 2012 zero customers and zero products to where we have the capability to transport 280 000 tonnes of logs. The profile we see at the moment across multiple customers and multiple product lines within those customers, we've transitioned from just being a southern residues transporter of logs to a much higher portfolio of plantation. Our current profile of plantation to native is 62 per cent plantation, 38 per cent native. The plantation space continues to grow.

We’ve designed a lot of equipment to be able to handle the plantation, which tend to be smaller logs. We're putting in wagon end gates, we have put in bookends which help store the logs at terminals and improved the safety of our LogTainers to be able to transport them efficiently and safely.