The Tasmanian Forest Contractors Association is astounded at the credence that uninformed comment has been granted in the comments about the forthcoming export of low grade pine logs from northern and north-western Tasmania.
In a stinging attack on the current myth-management, Ed Vincent, Chief Executive Officer of the Tasmanian Forest Contractors Association, said the TFCA supported Forestry Tasmania’s efforts to achieve viable sales of its timber to markets that potentially do not require fumigation. In the meantime, the protocols for fumigation are well understood with the primary focus being on safety.
Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP had said the export of whole pine logs just a few years after major Tasmanian employer Auspine was forced to leave the state due an apparent lack of pine logs is outrageous, and Forestry Tasmania must explain why it is exporting logs that could be downstream processed in Tasmania by Tasmanians. “The decision to change the location of the fumigation is a victory for people living and working around Bell Bay, but a tragedy for the people living and working around the port at Burnie,” said Booth. “Methyl bromide is a highly toxic chemical and Labor must explain why it is allowing the rogue agency Forestry Tasmania to use this chemical to fumigate a shipload of logs for export, when those logs should be processed in Tasmania by Tasmanians,” he had said.
“How is it that Forestry Tasmania is exporting whole pine logs just a few years after major employer Auspine was forced out of the State due to a supposed shortage of pine logs?”
However, Ed Vincent said the facts in the matter had obviously been overlooked.
“The facts are:
“These are logs that currently have no domestic market. Their harvest and sale provides the opportunity to re-plant with stock more suited to future markets and hopefully, domestic value-adding.
“Their harvesting and export is creating much- needed work for contractors and the service industries and suppliers that depend on them.
“The fumigation of the logs is a requirement of the destination country. Many other countries also require similar quarantine measures, including Australia, as a measure to protect their indigenous environment. Further, it is a process that is conducted daily in various parts of the State without mishap.
“The Australian Quarantine Inspection Service details the total Australian expected use of Methyl Bromide at 350 tonnes per annum. This makes a nonsense of some of the wild guesses, of up to 1.5 million tonnes of fumigant to treat this shipment.
“The amount used to fumigate this shipment is a very small percentage of that already used in Tasmania for treatment of a wide range of products both imported into the State and exported for valuable income to Tasmanian businesses. In addition, TasPorts has proposed a safety exclusion zone which is nearly 20 times required by the revised National Code,” Vincent said.