Chops and chips hard to swallow for some Libs

14 August 2014

EARLIER this month VicForests, the state government-owned entity that manages logging in the state’s native forests, celebrated its 10th birthday with a party.

On the face of it the foresters had a lot to celebrate. In its first eight years, despite taking in hundreds of millions in revenue, VicForests made a profit of only $12.3 million and it hasn’t paid a dividend to its owners — the taxpayers — since 2007. Lately, however, the business seems to have turned the corner. In the financial year 2012-13 it made a profit of $802,000 on $106.3 million in revenue.

Forestry industry out on a limb

9 August 2014

In its heyday, the town of Cann River in the far east of Victoria was home to seven sawmills. But now just one remains .

Bob Humphreys, 70, has run it for 43 years. As a boy he spent school holidays working at the mill.

In all that time no changes have been as dramatic as those which have buffeted the industry in the past five years.

‘‘Our critical mass has shrunk to such an extent that sooner or later it will no longer be viable. And we're rapidly approaching that point, I reckon,’’ Humphreys says.

Victoria leads logging of native forests

8 August 2014

Victoria has become the largest producer of wood from logging native forests in the country, following a dramatic contraction in Australia’s native timber industry over the past decade.

The industry’s decline, and Victoria’s rise to the top, is in large part a result of native timber losing its prized international woodchip markets, with domestic and international plantations now favoured by buyers in Japan and China.

VicForests FSC certification bid eyes end to old-growth logging in East Gippsland

8 July 2014

VICTORIA’S state-owned forestry company has flagged a potential end to contentious old-growth logging in East Gippsland and improvements to forest management to help it secure top-flight certification.

Nathan Trushell, VicForests general manager, stakeholders and planning, told The Australian that the logging agency accepted it had to make “significant” changes to secure Forest Stewardship Council certification.

Certification bid forces Vic Forests rethink

8 July 2014

An assessment of Vic Forests has found it currently fails to meet a basic standard for sustainable management, triggering speculation that it could change old growth logging practices.

The preliminary assessment was conducted on behalf of the Forest Stewardship Council, a group which works globally to endorse companies if they meet environmental and social responsibility standards.

Audit criticises VicForests application for FSC rating

5 July 2014

VicForests needs to ''significantly'' improve its care of the state's forests if it wants international accreditation of its timber products, according to an unflattering audit.

VicForests, a Victorian government-owned business, is seeking certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), based in Germany, to demonstrate that its harvesting of the state's timber is sustainable, ethical, and protects natural forest. FSC accreditation is widely recognised in the paper and printing industries and would allow VicForests to more effectively market its products to environmentally-conscious customers.

Axe VicForests or chop off the public money

28 May 2014

The age of entitlement is alive and well in Victoria. At least when it comes to the logging of native forests, a proposition that has become so financially fraught the government is considering getting into the business of firewood collection and chipboard production just to prop it up.

A couple of weeks ago South East Fibre Exports – the Japanese-owned company that owns a large woodchip mill at Eden – decided to dump a contract taking waste timber from VicForests’ East Gippsland logging operations.