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Branchline, June 11, 2013


Major changes to flow from Tasmanian Forest Agreement

You may be aware that the Tasmanian Forest Agreement legislation was given Royal Assent on 3 June 2013, and is now law. The Tasmanian Forest Agreement Act 2013 reduces the high quality eucalypt sawlog supply from State forests by 54 percent to 137,000 cubic metres per year and designates 515,000 ha of future reserve land. Some 101,000 ha of this land will be made into reserves later this year subject to a positive durability report, and 291,000 ha will be made into reserves after October 2014 if Forestry Tasmania has achieved Forest Stewardship Council certification. A further 102,000 ha can be made into reserves after March 2015. A determination on reservation of a final 21,000 ha of land can be made after Jan 2022.

We have noted on a number of occasions that Forestry Tasmania is supportive of the Agreement, as we believe it offers the best opportunity to end the ‘forest wars’ and to restore market confidence in our wood products.

The passing of the Agreement into law is not the end of the process – for FT it marks the beginning of a new set of challenges, including some significant adjustments to the way the organisation operates. FT cannot conduct native forest harvesting that requires a Forest Practices Plan in the future reserve land (except areas that can become reserves after 2022). FT cannot sell the land or transfer it to any other entity. Nor can it grant a lease or licence over the land for a period of more than 12 months without the permission of the Nature Conservation Minister.

The TFA and the decision by Government that FT in future will focus on the management of production forests will see the proposed transfer over time of more than 700,000 ha of State Forest to the Parks and Wildlife Service.

Our staff, past and present, deserve public acknowledgement for managing these lands to such a high standard that they are now deemed worthy of reserve status. Some of these areas are even included in the Australian Government’s nomination for additions to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

A number of these reserve transfer proposals are subject to the durability provisions of the TFA.

The most significant of these clauses, as far as Forestry Tasmania’s operations go, is the condition that we achieve Forest Stewardship Council certification.

Independent of this legislative requirement, we now believe Forest Stewardship Council certification is the key to improved market access. Our current and prospective customers have a choice of certification labels – and many are demanding FSC certification.

We have a great deal of work to do before we reach this goal, especially in the area of community engagement.

However, I’m pleased to say that work has already commenced – we have formed a project team that has been tasked with integrating the program’s requirements into our operations.

One for the diary

On Wednesday 19 June, Professor Andreas Rothe from Germany will be presenting the next Forestry Talk 'Bioenergy - A future forest industry for Tasmania?'. Prof Rothe will review recent work on forest carbon stocks and suggest that it is the use of forests that will give the best benefits for mitigating climate change. That's 1:00pm at the National Forest Learning Centre, 79 Melville Street, Hobart. Read more

Until next time,
Steve Whiteley

Acting Chief Executive Officer
Forestry Tasmania





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