WELFARE INDUSTRY ROBS THE PUBLIC
Will Napthine hand VicForests $18M from our pockets next year to log East Gippy forests?
This is despite their being no market for the bulk of the trees they cut down. The East Gippsland community could do so much more with that money. It could kick start more useful and more healthy, growing sectors - eco-tourism, new agricultural initiatives, fire preparedness ...
Are our Gippsland politicians like Garry Blackwood, Danny O'Brien, Peter Ryan and Tim Bull are caught in a time warp from the 70s? The markets have spoken and the show is over.
The below opinion piece from the Herald Sun is clear evidence of the millions in logging welfare that our taxes have been used foro. This is a destructive and shrinking extractive operation that's now supporting about as many jobs as a cottage industry that makes jam might.
Will our forests be burnt to warm tomato crops?
10th August 2014
This seemingly good news story could be a disaster. Energy development company HRL and two other companies are planning 60 ha of hydroponic greenhouses heated by 220,000 tonnes of wood ‘waste’. Coincidentally, it's the same amount the government is currently trying to find a buyer for to save the ailing East Gippsland logging industry.
This new intense food production site is to be built at Avalon and would be the biggest in the world. It’s a great way to produce fresh food on a large scale in a small area all year round but we wonder what we are not being told.
Our radar alarm hit high pitch when we heard the term ‘waste’ wood. Also bring into the picture HRL’s history of advocating the use of native forest wood to burn for electricity and heat www.hrlt.com.au/waste-to-energy .
We are told this will be industrial wood waste from demolition sites across Melbourne and Geelong (we suspect). This would be gathered, transported and chipped for burning on site to produce both heat and electricity. So the proposal isn’t just for heat production but for a power generation facility of 120MWh – a fairly large biomass burner. That would be a dangerous big foot in the door for a biomass industry.
Questions: What quantities of waste wood can a city provide year round? How reliable would the supply be? How cost-efficient would it be to pick out just the timber waste from other unwanted materials like metal, fibro cement sheets, glass and so on? How would this be transported? If they plan to chip the waste wood, how do they extract all the metal fixtures, nails and screws that would damage the chipper blades?
We strongly suspect that picking through a demolition pile for timber would not be cost effective or supply enough material to heat 60 hectares of greenhouses 12 months of the year. Being at Avalon, we would hope the miles of failed MIS bluegum plantations in western Victoria would be the first choice for burning if they later announce they’ll have to seek further supplies of ‘waste’ wood.
Weekly Times 6/8/14 www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/australias-first-waste-to-energy-to-fresh-food-farm-will-generate-160m-a-year-and-create-more-than-1000-jobs-for-geelong / Jill
Victoria leads in logging - but is still in decline
9th August 2014
This story appeared in Saturday's Age and exposes the most 'entitled' industry our taxes have ever propped up.
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.
Cutting down native forests is heavily contested by conservationists, who say it is a state-sponsored loss-making practice that hurts endangered species and other environmental values.
Over the past 10 years, the amount of logs produced from Australian native hardwood forests has collapsed from 10 million cubic metres a year to just 3.8 million as of 2012-13.
The most recent statistics from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences also reveal Victoria processed 1.3 million cubic metres of timber from its native hardwood forests in 2012-13, two-thirds of what it did a decade ago.
But the Victorian decline has been nowhere near as steep as other major native timber states. Tasmania processed less than 800,000 cubic metres in 2012-13 from native hardwood forests, well below a peak of more than 5 million cubic metres last decade. NSW also fell from 1.9 million cubic metres a year to 930,000 on the latest ABARES numbers, which were released in May.
Victoria’s logging of native forests has held up better because pulp logs – smaller logs that cannot be used in sawmills – cut from its Central Highlands forests are being sold to the Maryvale paper mill in the Latrobe Valley, rather than being turned into woodchips for export.
Director of strategy at the state-owned timber company VicForests, Nathan Trushell, said Victoria had an established domestic processing industry.
‘‘And to some degree it has been the envy of the broader industry here in Australia. And we’ve felt very fortunate in that regard,’’ he said.
But volumes of the Victorian native timber harvest could take a further hit next year following the decision of a NSW woodchip exporter to no longer buy pulp logs from East Gippsland logging.
Mr Trushell said VicForests was looking at other ways to sell the pulp logs.
Environmentalists pointed to VicForests' struggles to break even, with the Wilderness Society’s Amelia Young saying: ‘‘Logging native forests is clearly unsustainable and unprofitable.
‘‘Most of Victoria’s native forests are logged to supply Australian Paper’s Maryvale mill, yet there is more than enough plantation wood and recycled fibre to keep it operating,’’ she said.
A spokesman for Australian Paper, which owns the Maryvale mill, said a previous study found supplying all its timber from plantations would require a $31 million annual government subsidy to cover the extra costs of trucking from Western Victoria, where many of the plantations are established.
He said 65 per cent of the company’s wood needs were already coming from plantations and recycled sources, and it was promoting to governments the importance of establishing new plantations closer to the mill in Gippsland.
Ms Young said the $31 million figure was highly inflated and the trucking costs could be covered with a $5 million subsidy.
See also - Forestry industry out on a limb
Landmark study - clearfell logging makes bushfires deadly
6th August 2014
A two-year landmark study of the deadly Black Saturday fires that killed 159 people shows conclusively that the intensity was significantly increased by clear-fell logging of forests.
The study is dynamite and is published in Conservation Letters.
Scientists from Melbourne University and the ANU (Professor David Lindenmayer, Dr Chris Taylor and Dr Michael McCarthy) say the study showed conclusively that the thick flammable logging regrowth made the deadly blaze much more extreme.
They also warn that increased fire danger lasts for up to 70 years after logging, with the intensity threat peaking between 10 and 50 years.
This added severity is sufficient to kill people and add significantly to property and forest damage.
Regrowth forests have more trees growing close together and contain large amounts of flash fuels that makes fire burn more fiercely, the study found.
Old-growth forests usually have wet rainforest understorey canopies, which are less flammable than the drier understorey of regrowth forests.
In the past 50 years, more than 47,000 ha of wet forest have been logged with 17,600 ha to be logged in the next five years.
5% burn targets questioned by govt monitor
6th August 2014
The 5% burn target has again been questioned by Neil Comrie himself “the 390,000 ha target may not be achievable, affordable or sustainable.” (from the latest BRCIM’s 2014 annual report).
‘The Bushfire Royal Commission’s Implementation Monitor's 2012 Final Report advocated that the State reconsider the planned burning rolling target of five per cent and replace it with a risk based approach focused on the protection of life and property. In 2013, the BRCIM went further stating concerns that the 390,000 ha target may not be achievable, affordable or sustainable. The BRCIM’s view in relation to this target is unchanged. Area based hectare targets alone will not necessarily reduce the bushfire risk to life and property in Victoria and may have adverse environmental outcomes…
‘With the benefit of five years dedicated work in this area, the BRCIM considers it may be timely for the State to reconsider [Royal Commission] Recommendation 56, having regard to the positive shift in focus from a numeric area based target to a risk based approach in order to deliver an effective long term program of planned burning.’
Check pages 47-48. The report is here.
How long will Premier Napthine favour fooling the public with an expensive, ineffective and (long term) environmentally destructive ‘pyro-placation’? These millions would be better spent on more targeted and effective protection measures.
The government has every reason now to review its current land and fire management. Significantly, the new research which shows that logging regrowth (a large % of public forested land) creates a more intense and deadly bushfire must be considered.
VicForests – a decade of debt and destruction
Friday 1st August 2014
VicForests turns 10 today. In that time it has received $25million in grants and subsidies to help it haul $300million worth of free logs from public forest which it still owes Victorians $74million in unpaid dividends for. This debt to the public could build 10 new schools, pay for 96 additional teachers or deploy five additional Erickson Skycranes each summer.
“Today VicForests celebrates its decade of logging, but environment groups will be celebrating the anticipated end of a decade of looting, debt and destruction” said EEG’s Jill Redwood.
“VicForests is the ultimate entity of entitlement, yet is still unable to ‘operate its business … as efficiently as possible consistent with prudent commercial practice’, as its Charter states it must”, said Ms Redwood. “The Napthine government is also finding it increasingly difficult to justify the financial losses and the legal shielding it needs.”
“If this was a private business it would have been bankrupted years ago. A decade of irresponsible, reckless and unsustainable logging of public property all the while bludging off tax-payers is not something to celebrate”, said Ms Redwood.
“VicForests would have to be the State’s most brazen ‘entity of entitlement’ yet could cease to operate in East Gippsland after December due to the Japanese woodchip buyer, Itochu and Nippon, deciding to not renew woodchip contracts ”
“VicForests has controversially clearfelled and chipped at least 2/3rds of our forests to supply the export woodchip company at Eden. This will now see local sawmills suffer. Most Gippslanders though will celebrate the anticipated end to VicForests’ reign in the east and an end to the decade of sending our rich forests into the woodchip pile and waste paper bin”.
BOYCOTT THESE AFS ENVELOPES
Don't be conned! These envelopes should be avoided as they just provide free promotion for the farce that is the Australian Forest Standard.
AFS is the loggers-own 'green tick' they invented to try and cover their 'business as usual' forest destruction.
BIOMASSACRE - Don't trash our forests for energy
The logging, woodchipping and energy industries are poised to unleash plans to use native forests to produce electricity, and to convert forests into liquid bio-fuels.
www.biomassacre.com has a cyber action that you can easily be part of. Sign the online action now to ask electricity retailers if they plan to boycott selling power that has been generated from burning native forests.
dont trash forests for bioenergy/say no to a biomassacre
More details at http://biomassacre.com/
This short video explains how forests and our climate are so closely connected. Forests are our greatest land based carbon stores, shade the earth, moderate our climate and provide clouds and rainfall.
> Download Potoroo Review 202
> Download Potoroo Review 201
> Download Potoroo Review 200
> Download Potoroo Review 199
> Download Potoroo Review 198
> Download Potoroo Review 197
> Download Potoroo Review 196
> Download Potoroo Review 195