MEDIA RELEASE, November 3, 2011
Court documents obtained by the NCEC confirm that Forests NSW are unable to meet timber commitments and are having to pay out mills for timber that never existed.
NCEC President, Susie Russell, said that ever since the NSW Government gave new Wood Supply Agreements for timber from public land to millers in 2004, Forests NSW have not been able to supply the committed volumes.
“At the time the new Wood Supply Agreements were issued there was abundant evidence that Forests NSW’s resource estimates were grossly overstated and unreliable. Unfortunately at that time the NSW Government removed a clause that was in previous agreements that allowed timber commitments to be reduced in line with yield reviews.
“Timber giant Boral initiated proceedings in the Supreme Court against Forests NSW in 2010 claiming Forests NSW have been unable to supply them with contracted timber volumes since 2002. The court documents show that Forests NSW were forced to pay Boral half a million dollars in 2006 for undersupply to that time. Since then supply has been declining and Forests NSW now owe Boral almost twice as much again,” she said.
“Forests NSW have also been forced to buy back timber commitments from other millers
“In vain efforts to meet shortfalls Forests NSW have been over-logging plantations, cutting trees before they mature, increasing logging intensities, logging stream buffers, logging trees and areas required to be retained for threatened species and buying timber from private properties.
“Despite leaving the forest looking like a battlefield and cutting out the future sawlogs, Forests NSW still cannot get them enough wood,” said long-time forest activist with the North East Forest Alliance, Dailan Pugh, who as a result of analysing all FNSW timber yield estimates predicted the timber supply crisis in 1999.
“The NSW Government’s recklessness in issuing the new Wood Supply Agreements in 2004 has already cost taxpayers a fortune, and exposed us to many millions of dollars in future compensation. The environmental costs are astronomical,” he said.
“The crisis is real and ongoing. The gross over-cutting now happening must be stopped immediately. Timber quotas must be immediately reduced to a sustainable level. The legal dispute between the Government and Boral is perhaps the only opportunity this Government will have to make these changes. Failure to do so could lead to further massive compensation payouts as well as doing irreparable damage to our public forests,” Ms Russell said.
For comment Susie Russell 0429655044 or 65 504 481 or Dailan Pugh 66 807 063
To see the court document see: http://nefa.org.au/resources/Summons_Boral_v_Forestry_Commission.pdf