Saturday, 27 February 2016

Forestry Tasmania's death throes

Unless Forestry Tasmania discovers gold it will be out of pocket when it knocks over the Mutual Valley coupe adjacent to the Blue Derby mountain bike trail.

The bike trail has recently been funded by governments to the tune of $3.4 million. The whole point of the trail is to attract tourists and help fill the employment gap left by the unprofitable forest industry.

Yet here we have FT, on its last legs in its current configuration, undermining the very industry chosen and funded by public policy makers to fill the void.

Not short of opponents FT is taking on the tourism industry as well.

The Mutual Valley coupe is larger than the contentious Lapoinya coupe with a harvest area at 66 hectares compared to 49 hectares.

There’s not much timber. The yield is well down, 150 tonnes per hectare (compared to 245 tonnes) giving an overall proposed harvest of 10,000 tonnes (12,500 tonnes at Lapoinya).

FT claim there’s a much higher % of Ta Ann peeler logs at Lapoinya and given the short cart distance to the Smithton mill is more profitable. By the time the 1,000 tonnes of peeler logs are transported to Smithton from Mutual Valley there won’t be much money left, maybe $10 per tonne as the effective stumpage return to FT. Mr Rolley’s mob don’t pay the extra cartage, it’s a mill door delivered contract.

The net stumpage of $10 is in line with FT’s recent history. In 2014/15 FT sold about 1.5 million tonnes of timber at an effective average stumpage price of $7.60 per tonne. In other words revenue less all post stump expenses such as harvesting, cartage, chipping, freight and shipping costs was only $7.60 per tonne, not enough to pay roading and regeneration costs which were $11 per tonne let alone wages and overheads for FT staff plus Bob Gordon’s super.

There’s a much higher % of chip logs at Mutual Valley, 67%, compared to Lapoinya at 52%, but woodchipping is more profitable for FT in the North West because it runs the chip facility that graces the Burnie port. In the North FT chipping and exporting is via Smart Fibre at Bell Bay and is not as profitable for FT.

The overall result at Mutual Valley looks like breakeven after the costs of roads and regeneration, insufficient to pay FT’s wages on the job. An overdraft will cover them in the short term until FT manages to sell our hardwood plantations at a fraction of the establishment costs

Tourism Minister Hodgman has got form when it comes to standing idly by as FT negatively impacts recently funded tourism infrastructure. The $24 million Tarkine Road project, at last starting to entice tourists west of Stanley, is about to be impacted by the proposed clearfelling of three coupes which border tourist roads, one on the Tarkine Drive itself and the other two on feeder roads.

FT and Mr Harriss both suggested appropriate signage to help tourists understand the history and context of forestry operations.

What will the signs say?

The devastation you are now viewing was undertaken for the sole purpose of honouring loss making contracts negotiated by Forestry Tasmania.


  1. The residents of the Mutual Valley asked Forestry Tasmania for a moratorium on the logging of this coupe in order for us to produce economic alternatives based around several Eco-tourism proposals. It seems they don't want to hear our proposals. There won't be much Eco left if they go ahead with this clearfell.

  2. The figures are beyond depressing and time after time I am left wondering just who it is exactly who makes these decisions. Stepping aside from the horror of Indonesian-style clear falling and burning, as favored by FT, who could ever think that a CF'd coup on a tourist road could ever, ever be a good look?? Signs to explain the histoty? THAT history, like so much of Australia's history, needs a srious cover-up job done it. Disgusted.

  3. hmmm lots of assumptions and an error . Smartfibre is plantation only , so what has its operations got to do with the Mutual

    Expect better from JL

    1. FT's 2015 Annual Report at page 7 said "In addition to continuing residue exports through Smartfibre at Bell Bay...".

  4. ^^ Read the article: 'In the North FT chipping and exporting is via Smart Fibre at Bell Bay and is not as profitable for FT.' JL is correct, you are not.

    1. Actually chipping is done by ARTEC at Bell Bay. FT provided the land, the port facilities and of course all the trees. Currently all chips go to Taiwan, China and Japan. The TAP website tracks all ship movements from ARTEC BB wharf 6.

  5. Meanwhile State Treasurer Peter Gutwein dares to stand in front of Tasmania's obsequious media cameras and announcing how great everything is in Tasmania thanks to him and his eunuch-like colleagues.
    The Liberals are so very proud of their nothingness and their 'making money backward scheme' of ramped up by the Native Forest denuding Forestry Tasmania GBE in order to have even more of Tasmania's taxpayer revenues soaring o'er the waves to touch down in front of Ta Ann owner Hamed Sepawi in far distant Sarawak.
    Unfortunately the Liberal government, (as were the former Labor government) see nothing amiss.
    "Look yonder at all them logs-trucks scooting up the highway that must mean our shitty old forests are being cleaned up and money is sure to be pouring in."
    (Indeed that is correct the money is pouring in, except that it is from the taxpayers purse therefore from Tasmania's own State revenues into the arse pocket of Hamed Sapawi.)