Sarah Rees, Healesville
July 30, 2007 (letter not published)
Tricia Caswell’s account of the native forest sector (30/7) only further illustrates the native forest industry’s failure to manage their market risk. Make no mistake about what the native forest sector is really afraid of, its not green votes, nor is it native forestry’s contribution to 18.6% of global greenhouse emissions, but rather its the rising power of the plantation sector to supply saw logs and woodchips and the sectors right to competitive pricing for its investors.
Mum’s and Dad’s have sunk their valuable super funds into these schemes across Australia and they deservedly want their returns, however in order to get them, plantation wood needs to be competitively priced, but how can it be when the native logging industry receive their land, water and roads for next to nothing, unlike the plantation sector.
Native forests receive heavy subsides on transport, advertising and other externalities hence how they can sell ancient forests for as little as 11c a tonne. The plantation sector and its investors cannot compete until the government regulates a competitive policy on wood price and an end to tax payer, subsidised, native logging. Ultimately, the market will shut down native forestry a lot faster than ‘greenies’ on account of the obligation plantations have to their investors and governments have to manage this major economic discrepancy.