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FIAT – there was no request to log native Tas forests

Terry Edwards

The Forest Industries Association of Tasmania (FIAT) has made no request for access to log native Tasmanian forests despite reports of a potential short-fall in supply. FIAT acting chief executive Terry Edwards said all the industry has requested was an assessment of 357,000ha of forest the industry had previously agreed could be protected. Source: Timberbiz

The timber was set aside under 2012 the Tasmanian Forests Agreement however, the current Liberal Government reversed that decision and renamed the area as a Future Potential Production Forest.

“We have asked for an assessment to be done so we can work out what we have there, and whether it is even worth asking for if we need to ask for it,” Mr Edwards said.

Industry sources told Daily Timber News that to even access that timber any proposal would need to go before Parliament.

The sources rejected reports last week that the industry desperately needed access to the timber, which was confirmed by Mr Edwards who also dismissed reports of a rekindling the state’s divisive “forest wars”.

“There is a small shortage at the moment and a lot of that is a structural issue,” he said.

“We had massive fires down here last year and in 2016, both of which consumed resources.

“But we don’t know how severe last year’s fires were yet. We need to have a full-blown assessment of that.

“That’s part of the assessment process that we are asking the government and Sustainable Timber Tasmania to get under way,” he said.

Mr Edwards said the assessment was a “just in case” scenario and FIAT had simply asked for an assessment process to begin.

“That’s exactly what has happened.”

No request has been made to open up the native forests and it was not even in the conversation in the industry as yet.

“No request has been made for access. All we have asked is for an assessment to be done so we can work out what we have there, whether it is worth asking for if we need to ask for it.”

A spokesman for Sustainable Timber Tasmania said that to model long term wood supply capacity, STA undertook five yearly reviews of sustainable yield form Permanent Timber Production Zone land. The next review was due in 2022 and would take into account all relevant factors such as the impact from bushfires.

The spokesman said that as part of the assessment of the impact of the bushfires, Sustainable Timber Tasmania would conduct some small-scale trials in collaboration with customers to test the acceptability and quality of the fire damaged trees over the next six months.

A State Government spokesman said the government would consider any application made by industry, based on its merits.