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Triabunna essential to forest industry

DATE 06/07/2011

The Tasmanian Development Board’s decision to approve the loan application by Fibre Plus to purchase the Triabunna woodchip mill will ensure infrastructure essential to the continued operation of the forest industry remains open.

 

Public assistance to Tasmanian businesses is not uncommon. The usual catchcry for forest industry critics is to label any Government investment in the sector as corrupt, but this loan has been subject to independent and stringent evaluation - as is the practice for all such business assistance packages.

 

That said, I understand Tasmanians would like to see harvesting residues put to higher value uses than woodchips. Our international competitors, which long ago moved beyond outdated environmental battle lines, have already seen the benefits of producing engineered wood products, textiles and biofuels from the same resource we send overseas as an undifferentiated commodity export.

However, until we can create an investment environment that attracts private sector manufacturers of high value wood products, it’s crucial that Triabunna remains open.

Whenever forestry and processing operations are conducted, an amount of waste material and otherwise unmarketable wood, which we class as pulpwood, is inevitably produced. In the south of the State, around 500,000 tonnes of pulpwood is produced from these operations each year.

If we don’t find markets for this product, harvesting will be financially unviable and sawmills will choke with waste.

Forestry Tasmania is fully supportive of Fibre Plus, and we have already confirmed our intent to supply resource to the mill.

We congratulate the new operators on a venture that will provide a degree of certainty to the thousands of Tasmanians, and the regional communities in which they live, that depend on the native forest sector.