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ForestrySA replanting report wrong

Major employer in Jamestown Morgan Sawmill’s future could be in jeopardy following the release of a State Government report into the Mid North pine plantations’ future sustainability. Source: Victor Harbour Times

The report called Strategic Directions for Mid North Pine Plantation Estate concluded that winding up the Mid North forestry operations in 2018 would be the most financially viable option, following severe fire damage to the Bundaleer and Wirrabara forests.

Sawmill operator Luke Morgan said the figures used in the report to calculate the losses the forestry operation could sustain, if it were to continue, were flawed.

He said many of the costing figures were rounded off incorrectly, and some of the figures were approximate.

Luke’s father Ed Morgan said the report was well written, but described it as “a rough guide” due to the issues with assumptions and estimated figures.

“The base figures used for costings are doubtful at best and ForestrySA has been asked to clarify and quantify those figures as they are obvious estimates,” he said.

“Base numbers that are say $200 out can give a difference of many hundreds of thousands over periods used to calculate the net present value within the report.”

They said have not had a reply from Forestry SA about the figures. If the forest is not replanted, and operations are wound up as the report recommends in 2018, Mr Morgan said it would have a significant impact on the town’s economic future, as a major employer in the town.

Beyond the employees directly working for the sawmill, Mr Morgan said in total around 60 people depend on the sawmill for employment including at their other two sites in Loxton and Adelaide.

If the forest is not replanted, it could be a devastating blow for Jamestown and surrounding communities.