VicForests Finances

VicForests cash flow under fire

18 June 2013

Victoria's state-owned timber company VicForests has racked up cash losses of $22million since it was formed - equating to a loss of $1.50 for every cubic metre of wood it has logged - an analysis of its public accounts has found.

The review was carried out by the Australian Conservation Foundation's economic unit and concludes the company's cash flow problems and large debt indicate trouble with its core business.

VicForests posts loss after 'challenging year'

13 September 2012

TAXPAYER-OWNED native forest logging company VicForests has recorded another financial loss.

Environment groups and Greens have said it is “staggering that VicForests gets free land and trees to cut down but still manages to make a loss” and it would be cheaper to send its employees “to Bali to retire” than to keep the entity alive.

But VicForests says it is looking to the “future after a challenging year” and blamed the high Aussie dollar, global economic conditions and legal expenses for the loss.

Industry pushes against the grain

4 February 2012

THE logs - thousands of them - are piled neatly in an old sawmill yard at Neerim South, Gippsland. To the casual observer they may look unexceptional. But the truck drivers, paid by the government to cart the felled trees from the state's forests, know better. This place is a dumping ground, albeit temporary. And the wood - representing about 100 hectares of trees - symbolises long-term problems with the management of Victoria's native forests.

Government’s VicForests logs a profit, but only just

15 September 2011

THE state government’s logging company, VicForests, burnt through more than $5 million in cash last year as its customers struggled to pay their bills, accounts tabled in Parliament yesterday reveal.

Thanks to a $5.8 million grant for bushfire recovery services from the government, the native forest logging monopoly declared a profit of $2.3 million for 2010-11.

But VicForests’ operating cash flow was negative for the second year running and its borrowing from government again blew out, increasing from $19 million to $25 million – a tenfold increase since 2009, when it owed Treasury just $2.3 million.

VicForests has credit extended

11 April 2011

THE financial woes of the state government’s commercial forestry arm VicForests have deepened, with it forced to go back to Treasury for a bigger loan.

VicForests’ line of credit with Treasury has doubled in three years, from $12.5 million in 2009 to $25 million this year, as the company struggles with cash-flow problems.

The deepening financial problems at VicForests follow the release of a report by forestry consultants URS, commissioned by Treasury, which found the company cannot manage its costs.

VicForests operations condemned

23 February 2011

THE government-owned company that logs Victoria's native forests is running out of timber, has failed to keep track of how much forest is left to log and cannot manage its costs, a damning Treasury report has found.

VicForests has also twice breached Department of Sustainability and Environment rules by logging too much and its backlog of forest that needs replanting has nearly tripled, according to the report by forestry expert URS.

State-owned VicForests logging firm ‘non-viable’

3 January 2011

TAXPAYERS have been forced to fund a multimillion-dollar bailout of VicForests, with severe financial pressure putting the future of the government-owned company that logs state forests under a cloud.

VicForests’ operations are now being reviewed by the new Liberal-National coalition government, which says it will explore ”all management options” for the Victorian native timber industry.

Set up by the former Labor government six years ago, VicForests bled out more than $16 million in cash over the the 2009-10 financial year.

Forest debts up

9 November 2009
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VICTORIAN taxpayers are losing money on the harvest of their native forests, most of which are pulped and exported.

The financial records of the Government-owned VicForests corporation shows a loss of $1.6 million on the sale of $382 million of pulp and saw logs in the past four years.

VicForests (ex)chief executive officer John Pollard said the global wood-chip market, in which Australia was the biggest player, was highly competitive and pushed profits towards zero.

State's cheap timber sales 'undermine native forest policy'

6 April 2009

THE State Government has been accused of undermining its own forests policy by selling off native hardwood timbers for as little as $2.50 a tonne.

VicForests, the State Government's forest industry arm, has been undercutting commercial plantation pulp wood suppliers by selling off native forest timber harvested in East Gippsland for between $2.50 and $6 a tonne.

Commercial hardwood timber is sold for between $38 to $60 a tonne.