Logging subsidies shown to be illegal

The Federal Productivity Commission recently condemned the subsidised underpricing of logs by governments as illegal and called for a complete overhaul of the system nationally. A 61 page statement from the Competition Complaints Office, entitled Competitive Neutrality in Forestry, finds that none of the country’s state forest managers operate a commercial rate of return on public forests.

One logger = 500 doles

“Almost 100 new jobs will be created in the timber (logging) industry throughout rural Victoria as a direct result of the $42.6 million Victorian Forest Industry Structural Adjustment Program, the Minister for Environment and Conservation, Ms Sherryl Garbutt, said today “ (NRE media release 22.6.01)

So that would equate to spending almost a quarter of a million per job! A pity they didn’t consider other more socially beneficial jobs as worthy of such funding, like teachers and nurses.

This is meant to compensate the poor ol’ logging industry for all the hardships suffered under the RFA, while the environment gets a poke in the eye with a burnt stick and subjected to even more chainsaw management.

The individual grants range from $60,000 to $1.7 million and were announced as helping rural Victoria and the environment! Terra Timbers in East Gippsland scored $1M to assist them to value add to logs. Terra Timbers is claiming there will be 40 new jobs as a result yet they have nothing but a vacant cow paddock and a sign out the front! (near the Bengworden road just west of Bairnsdale). They must be waiting for tax-payers to build their mill.

The claimed environmental benefits? Five logging contractors can buy new machines to destroy the forest oh-so more sensitively, quickly and no doubt knock out a few jobs to boot.

We are also told the great news that another $3 million in gifts from tax-payers’ pockets to loggers will be announced soon. Then a further $6 million under a second round later this year.

Jill/John

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