Forest Plundering

We could fill a 10 volume encyclopaedia with stories of VicForests' plundering exploits, but in this section we will just stick to 10 main topics.

The rate of forest regeneration

10 May 2010

If native forest is being clear felled and not regenerated then it is not a sustainable industry nor is it sustainable for biodiversity. The results form the Department of Sustainability and Environments Monitoring Annual Harvesting Performance 2007/2008 proves that logging in Victoria based on regeneration performance alone is unsustainable

The following captures and highlighted areas from the aforementioned report show the lack of sustainability:

VicForests - cutting forests, costs and corners

2 August 2007


After three years as the new semi-corporate arm of the government logging agency, VicForests was going down the economic gurgler.

For the first two years after its creation, VicForests was given an easy run with DSE picking up the tab for many costs, but year three was to see it 'off the dole' and making a profit. To balance their books we saw Vic-Forests planning to cut corners and costs. Unfortunately, this also meant cutting their obligations to look after public lands.

VicForests oversees the logging of public forests and is meant to make a profit. In the past, forest agencies (of various names) have relied on hand-outs to operate. Now VicForests' plans to reduce overheads to stay in business could cost the environment dearly.

Auctioning sawlogs brings in some revenue, especially now it asks for a half-decent price for them. But sawmills aren't needing as many logs these days as there is decreasing demand for hardwood timber. However, thousands of tonnes of smoke-damaged ash forests were being knocked down as 'salvage' at ten times the normal rate. Solid logs were split to sell as woodchip fodder at a reduced price. Despite this 'fire sale', the bills were still mounting.
One of those bills was for $2 million in roading charges. DSE build and maintain logging roads then send the bill to VicForests. VicForests denies this is an unpaid debt, and seemed to say it was just a 'dispute over access fees'.

Fair pricing hits the logging industry

1 June 2005

Fair prices? That's not fair!

When the new VicForests office took over the native forest logging 'shop', they came in with a nice new broom. Mill owners will have to compete for logs by bidding for them when their license runs out over the next few years. Meanwhile their current license for logs has had a 17-25% price increase. This has come as a real shock to some mills and we're hearing very loud squeals of protest. An increase in royalties is exactly what EEG has been asking for since the eighties.

As a result, well known grumpy old men and recipients of millions of dollars in subsidies and assistance, threaten to shut their eastern mill down - again. This cry of 'wolf' has been heard about twice a year, whenever things don't go their way. One particular mill owner usually ends up with another bucket of public money out of it, but hopefully not this time.

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