First published May 27
Piles of stacked hardwood logs appear to be on the rise in the state, but for who? What is the market and where are they going? One can only guess they are destined for Asia, and yet history has already proved that such speculated exports make no economical sense.
Back in the Lennon government days, hardwood logs were once piled high and dry at the Burnie wharf.
These logs remained there for seemingly aeons only to decay, but Why?
Well, apparently the government at that time had somewhat loosely organised a couple of ships from Singapore to transport them to an Asian buyer, but at the eleventh hour the dud, seemingly one-sided deal fell through.
Our lamebrain government then obviously didn’t commit to a contract so it just continued to cut forests and pile the logs up on spec. These stacked so-called sawlogs, then dried out and split, and Tasmania procured yet another self-inflicted forestry lemon.
Surprisingly the state wasn’t willing to pay the dubious importers enough to take them away at that moment!
Meanwhile hardwood logs are beginning to pile up at Burnie again. This time in a compound near the Emu River. They are definitely not graded sawlogs as some have bends in them like a snake with a bellyache, so they must be ‘residues’ as Paul Harriss described them.
Obviously the question begs. How is it possible for the state to cut and transport these logs, stack them, then redistribute them to another site or export facility at a later date with belief that multiple handling is going to be profitable?
But that’s exactly what our delusional Forest Minister Guy Barnett is assuring us regarding Forestry’s future - and that is that FT is sustainable and can financially stand on its own feet.
The same modus operandi seems to be in the Liberal minds with the proposed Hobart wharf export concept.
This is apparently going to happen by sliding the logs into a shipping container somehow, probably with the aid of copious amounts of Vaseline.
By using shipping containers, the exporters then become eligible for a $700 per container subsidy under the freight equalisation scheme.
One imagines if the Hobart concept becomes viable then the stockpiled hardwood logs at Burnie may be exported in the same manner?
It would seem exporting hardwood logs at any subsidised cost is inconsequential providing some Liberal or FT crony gets to make a few bucks at the other end.
But even that seems unlikely these days!
*Ted Mead has been campaigning for the preservation of Tasmania’s wilderness for over 35 years. Although it has become a lifetime commitment, he fully comprehends that having our natural areas protected from Bulldozers, Chainsaws and dam builders is only the first step. Defending our wild places from inappropriate and exploitative development seems to be the neo-paradigm of the foreseeable future!