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Tas Forestry loss may lead to new areas for logging

Guy Barnett

Guy Barnett

Tasmania’s Resources Minister has used Forestry Tasmania’s $67 million loss to reinforce his argument new areas may need to be opened up to logging. Source: Herald Sun

Forestry Tasmania’s annual report tabled in State Parliament shows a loss of $67 million and a cash loss of $16.3 million.

Resources Minister Guy Barnett said factors contributing to the loss included an increase in the valuation of superannuation and a reduction in the valuation of forest assets.

In terms of cash, Mr Barnett said around one quarter of the trees harvested by Forestry Tasmania were costing the business more money than it was getting from its current contracts.

“Despite all the improvements to date — the business is not operating profitably and will be unable to do so under the current business model,” Mr Barnett said.

“The advice makes clear that FT cannot deliver agreed production levels in a commercially sustainable way.”

Mr Barnett said the State Government would not entertain the option of cutting FT’s legislated sawlog supply, as the move would result in a 25% reduction in the size of the state’s forest industry.

He said the loss revealed underlined the need to increase the area of land accessible to Forestry Tasmania.

Earlier in the month Mr Barnett revealed plans to bring forward logging in 400,000 hectares of land that had been set aside for reserves under the forest peace deal.

“This is why we are considering opening up the Future Potential Production Forest “land bank” set aside by this Government for precisely the purposes raised by this FT advice,” Mr Barnett said.