Government Business Enterprise, Sustainable Timbers Tasmania latest annual report has shown an increase in native forest wood chipping, ongoing rainforest logging - including the targeting of our Tasmanian tree ferns for the international garden trade.
The Gutwein government is enabling the continued greenhouse gas emissions from burning thousands of hectares of native forest, and again another financial year where figures are arranged to hide taxpayer losses.
While the Tasmanian people have grown accustomed to seeing the taxpayer subsidised native forest logging agency report financial losses, what is grating is that the contractual quotas show that the market does not exist for the legislated logging quotas. This means that STT are logging to meet legislative benchmarks rather than actual market demand. This is a perverse system that is neither economically nor ecologically sustainable.
The STT Annual Report proves again that they failed to meet legislated minimum sawlog quota in 2020/2021 (by 15%), due to a lack of demand for controversial native forest product. Independent analysis shows that the Government Business Enterprise’ reported $3.9m profit turns out to be a $17m loss. The volume of native forests woodchips rose 20%, while total sales of native forest product fell by $51million.
The Annual Report dedicates entire pages to promoting their plans to log forests around Blue Derby MTB trails. Most immediately the Krushka’s forests (CC105A and CC119A) that hold the iconic MTB trail of the same name, scheduled to start in November 2021. There are also current plans to log the mixed rainforests around the Atlas trail, that opened six years ago this week. This report shows that there is no market for logging these forests, yet we know there is a growing market for the nature-based tourism sector such as MTB and bush walking in these forests.
Native forest logging is again proving to be a lose - lose scenario as it undermines the emerging nature-based tourism sector, is a drain on taxpayers who prop up this unviable sector and it is failing to find a market for quotas. Sustainable Timbers Tasmania native forest logging sector model is again showing itself to be unviable, untransparent and only surviving because the Tasmanian Government is underwriting massive ongoing losses through grants to its own business.
Native forest logging is an economic and ecological loss for Tasmania. It has no social licence and is only limping along due to taxpayer subsidies. Tasmania can do better, and Tasmanians are ready for change.
Blue Derby Wild has collected over 27,000 signatures from the public to end native forest logging in Tasmania. It has brought together over 175 tourism and nature-based adventure brands in an Open Letter to the Premier and Ministers for Climate Action and Tourism, to call for an end of native forest logging in Tasmania, to build a truly responsible tourism sector and take real and practical action on climate change.