Forests Minister Paul Harriss has refused to rule out ongoing public subsidies for burning native forest woodchips and pulp logs to generate electricity.
When asked to rule out cash subsidies, discount woodchips and pulp logs, or an assumption of market risk by the Tasmanian taxpayer in parliament today, Mr Harriss’ silence was deafening.
Just as Paul Lennon tried with Gunns Ltd’s Tamar Valley pulp mill, it is clear that Mr Harriss intends to use public money to subsidise industrial scale native forest furnaces in Tasmania.
There is simply no business case for large scale native forest biomass without massive public subsidies, and Mr Harriss has effectively confirmed today that the public funds will flow to whichever company is first to hold out the begging bowl.
Mr Harriss clearly has no plan for native forest logging in Tasmania except for ongoing subsidies like privatising plantation assets, equity transfers from other GBEs, increases in Forestry Tasmania’s debt levels and now further largess from the taxpayer to encourage the ongoing clearfelling of native forest to generate electricity.