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Branchline, Jan 30, 2012

Today, I am releasing a detailed report titled Forest management in Tasmania - the Truth.  It is regrettable that we have had to devote staff resources that serves no other purpose than to counter the misinformation being used by anti forestry activists to hurt our forest products' markets internationally.

The report corrects over 50 of the serious errors and omissions found in the propaganda being circulated by Markets for Change and the Huon Valley Environment Centre  in the United Kingdom and in Japan. Our staff have done a great job in putting the report together, and searching out the evidence to refute the more outlandish claims made by these activists.
I urge you to read our full report <click here> but here is a summary of some of the key allegations we have refuted:
 
FACT: Ta Ann Tasmania's machinery is not engineered to process old growth timber.  Accordingly, Forestry Tasmania supplies regrowth billets under its wood supply agreement.  Right to Information documents sourced by the Greens (not the Huon Valley Environment Centre, as claimed) confirm that, of 500 coupes listed as providing resource to Ta Ann, all contained regrowth.
 
FACT: Ta Ann has not been supplied with any timber from independently verified high conservation value forests.  The Conservation Agreement between the Australian and Tasmanian Governments and Forestry Tasmania has confirmed that harvesting may take place in just 0.5 per cent of the 430,000-hectare interim reserve area declared under the Intergovernmental Agreement, while the independent verification process continues.
 
FACT: Forestry Tasmania categorically does not supply high quality sawlogs to Ta Ann Tasmania.  It supplies peeler billets, which were formerly classed as pulpwood arising from the sawlog harvest.
FACT: Ta Ann Tasmania pays a premium for peeler billets compared to their value as pulpwood, which is the alternative use.
 
FACT: There is no deforestation on Tasmanian state forest.  All harvested areas are regrown - so well in fact that regenerated forests are now claimed by ENGOs as having high conservation value.
 
On a more positive note, we are pleased to advise that the sale of the softwood joint venture plantations was finalised today.  The Deputy Premier Bryan Green and Forestry Tasmania's chairman Adrian Kloeden announced back in early December that Taswood Growers had reached agreement to sell rights to the plantation estate to Sydney based firm New Forests for $156m. The sale process, which included Foreign Investment Review Board approval, was finalised today, and our share of the proceeds will be used to retire debt.

The sale price we received was consistent with the average fair value estimate provided by independent valuer James W Sewall Company and represents a good outcome for both FT and New Forests. We have recently released information regarding the softwood sale in response to a Right to Information request (RTI11/24) from Mr Kim Booth MP. The RTI response is attached or can be found at http://www.forestrytas.com.au/right-to-information/release-of-information/7-lists-and-registers

This weekend, Going Bush, a television series that looks at forests and what makes them tick, returns to Southern Cross and will be seen in regional South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory, Canberra and Tassie. In the first episode Nick and Andrew follow a Mountain Ash from harvest in the Victorian highlands, through various processing stages where the better quality wood is used to make fine furniture and building materials with the residues used to make high quality office paper.
 
Nick and Andrew also take a look at the multi use forests of Northern NSW where sub tropics meet temperate, and do some bat hunting while looking at forest biodiversity. The safety record of FT also features, when Nick and Andrew visit a Tasmanian harvesting operation to see how safety culture has changed over the years. For more information and a sneak preview <click here> or tune in on Sunday at 5:30pm in Tasmania, and 3:00pm in the other states

Nick and Andrew will be at our  Forest Fun Day  this Thursday from 11am, showing a sneak preview of the Going Bush series. We've had such an overwhelming response to our previous open days that we're inviting you again to bring your family for more school holiday fun and learn about fire fighting, measuring trees, carbon and forest insects. Mum and dad can get a hotdog and billy tea while the kids abseil from our dome walkway and get their faces painted. <read more>.

Until next time
Bob Gordon

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