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NSW buy-back welcomed

Key stakeholders in the State’s timber industry have welcomed the NSW government’s decision to buy back allocation of saw logs harvested from North Coast forests, saying the move safeguards a sustainable supply of timber in the future. Source: The Land

The government announced it would pay $8.55 million to its biggest customer of hardwood logs, Boral Timber, to reclaim 50,000 cubic metres annually for the next nine years.

The majority of logs will be the high-value Blackbutt species.

The move allows for the continuing maturing of North Coast forests and also means Blackbutt can be supplied to other sectors of the industry.

Timber industry representatives say it is an ‘evening out’ of volumes of supply of saw logs that will help to secure the future of many smaller mills and timber businesses across the region.

“By securing the supply of high quality saw logs to all industry on the North Coast, this decision not only maintains the supply of vital products to the NSW building industry but sustains employment in regional NSW,” said Maree McCaskill, general manager of the NSW Forest Products Association (NSWFPA).

“For NSWFPA members, whose businesses rely on allocations of timber under contract with Forest Corporation NSW, the long term sustainability of both the resource and the industry is of paramount importance,” she said.

“In this concern, the timber industry stands united with the NSW government and with North Coast communities in seeking to harvest timber in a sustainable way.

“This decision ensures that a well-regulated supply will continue and assists in crafting a future for timber businesses post 2023 when negotiations under a further Regional Forest Agreement have concluded.”

Lismore-based timber business Hurfords said the announcement was good news for the sustainability of the North Coast Hardwood supply.
Andrew Hurford said what it may mean for each individual company’s species allocations and wood flow was a little harder to determine at this stage but his business looked forward to more detailed information and discussions with Forest Corp.

Other North Coast saw millers said the move gave them confidence to invest in new infrastructure to grow their businesses.

The NSWFPA argues that the key to ensuring sustainable forest management is to treat the entire tenure in NSW – whether national park, state forest or Crown Land – with the same management regime, one that achieves triple bottom line – social, environmental and economic outcomes.

“Communities in Europe, the UK, the USA and Canada agree that environmental sustainability requires active forest and park management rather than estate lock ups, which result in long term environmental degradation,” Ms McCaskill said.

“Anyone who appreciates their own garden or backyard accepts that active management of an area leads to a healthier outcomes for plants, trees and animals.
“This is simply a microcosm of the practices needed in the larger NSW estate.”