VicForests is crowing that this 2014/15 year, it made a profit of $4.68 million.
And for the first time in eight years, a dividend of $765 000 was paid to the people of Victoria via the Treasurer and VicForests is still thinking about paying last year’s owed dividend of $1.5 million. Whether we’ll see it is another thing. On a backlogged debt of $60 million, it’s a start. VicForests claims it’s paid a return to Victorian’s of $5 million (in 2006 and 2007). $5 million represents a very small recompense to the state for $871 million worth of publicly owned wood pulp and timber from our native forests.
VicForests also claims it has reduced the amount owed on loans by more than $7 million and has cash in the bank of $7.5 million. That’s cutting it fine and shows they’ve been operating as insolvents for a while.
VicForests received government grants (taxpayers money) in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 totalling $24.75 million. Without these grants, its cumulative losses would now be more than $11 million. Add to this the fact that the government gifts it almost $100 million worth of free timber every year to sell on for a profit. This is a direct subsidy which is given freely and rarely returns
Asked how they managed to make a profit after years of losses they said they are finding ways to make more savings and are being paid more for the sawn timber they sell. Having lost their major woodchip buyer that accounted for 85% of their log volumes, this doesn’t quite add up. Over the years it has cut corners and costs and accountability to the bone to save a quid, so the logging entity really can’t afford to reduce costs more. maybe they plan to move their headquarters under a sheet of rusty corro and let the loggers do as they please. Hang on – they already do the latter, so that sheet of iron must be their next cost saving plan.
The Victorian Auditor General’s Office does not “verify their accuracy and compliance with Australian Accounting Standards” as claimed, but simply checks the columns are filled in. This gives no assurance to anyone, except those who might be cooking the books.
VicForests also asserts it is performing a community service by employing a handful of people in eastern Victoria and supplying hardwood timber. But it’s to a market that is fast shrinking due to competition with pine. Even the hard-sell ads with Peter Maddison, host of Grand Designs Australia, aren’t working.
Bandying around selective figures in the millions to sound impressive is another hoax of this logging body.