The Tasmanian Government has backed Sustainable Timber Tasmania after an independent review of haulage contracts found that the process was conducted in a “manner that was fair to all tenderers.”
It came after Tasmanian Resources Minister Felix Ellis demanded Sustainable Timber Tasmania review its procurement policies after a Victorian company secured a haulage contract over a local contractor.
Yesterday, Minister Ellis backed Sustainable Timber Tasmania while reiterating the state’s support for native forest management.
“It is important to note that this is the fifth open tender Sustainable Timber Tasmania undertook during 2022-23, and the previous four tenders went to local companies,” Minister Ellis said.
According to the Minister, Sustainable Timber Tasmania spends tens of millions yearly supporting Tasmanian businesses.
“Last financial year, Sustainable Timber Tasmania paid $105 million to more than 647 Tasmanian businesses.”
In July, the Liberal-aligned Tasmanian State Premier became the first head of government to openly criticise the Victorian and WA Governments for shutting down the native forest management sector.
At the time, Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff criticised Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, describing the move to close the Victorian native logging industry earlier than expected as ‘ill-conceived’.
Minister Ellis, a long-term industry supporter, accused the Labor opposition of mistruths and politicking with timber jobs.
“In contrast to Mr Winter’s characterisations earlier today, I described Victorian Labor’s decision to shut down native forestry as catastrophic,” Minister Ellis said.
Wood Central understands that Dean Winter is the ALP member who raised the southern haulage contract in the Tasmanian parliament.
“Tasmanian Labor — including Mr Winter — have yet to publicly condemn the unscientific and job-destroying decision of their Victorian and Western Australian Labor colleagues to end sustainable native forestry in those states.”
“This is why Sustainable Timber Tasmania’s (STT) wood supply contracts with major Tasmanian processors are in place until 2027. All sawlog from our public estate is supplied to Tasmanian mills for on-island processing.”
The ALP remains divided on the topic of native forestry.
And whilst WA and Victoria have pushed to close the industry, the Tasmanian Opposition Leader Rebecca White has pushed for more support for the native industry.
“In the middle of a housing and cost of living crisis, this approach means that intergenerational Tasmanian businesses may be forced to reduce jobs or even close.”
“After ten years in office, it is clear that the minority Liberal Government has done little to protect our forestry industry and ensure that regional businesses and jobs continue to thrive across the state.”
“A Labor Government will work on putting Tasmania and Tasmanians first, ensuring that regional businesses, jobs and economies are protected.”