Published: 16 August 2017

Legislative Council Wednesday 16 August 2017


Mr Deputy President, I have a question to the Acting Leader for the Treasurer as shareholder minister for Sustainable Timber Tasmania, formerly Forestry Tasmania.  Regarding the impending sale of 29 000 hectares of plantations -

(1)  Will the Treasurer guarantee he will insist on a fair price for the 29 000 hectares of plantation earmarked for imminent sale before he or any other shareholder minister approves the sale of these plantations, bearing in mind these plantations belong to Tasmanians?

(2)  Has the Treasurer required or insisted in the tender document and/or the forestry right pursuant to the Forestry Rights Registration Act 1990 that plantations be re-established after each rotation to maintain the plantation estate at about 50 000 hectares to provide for long term stability of the industry, particularly for pruned and thinned plantations?


Mr Deputy President, I thank the honourable member for Murchison for her question.

(1)  The sale process and evaluation plan provided by the Treasurer and the Minister for Resources to then Forestry Tasmania sets out the following sale objective:  Forestry Tasmania's key objective in pursuing the sale of forestry rights is to maximise the return of Forestry Tasmania while minimising the risks associated with the sale and ongoing risks associated with the continued operation of the hardwood plantations.

In addition, the proceeds from the sale process will retire Forestry Tasmania's existing borrowings and support Forestry Tasmania over the period in which it transitions to a more financially sustainable business model.

The process has involved seeking expressions of interest from the market.  The primary criterion for evaluation of offers set out in the plan is that the offer as a whole is fair and reasonable.

(2)  Sustainable Timber Tasmania is only offering for sale those hardwood plantations it has determined it does not require for future sawlog production.  Approximately 20 000 hectares of the plantation estate will be retained to support future sawlog supply.  Sustainable Timber Tasmania has advised it undertook appropriate due diligence to determine the proportion to be sold, including taking into consideration the impact on sustainable yield and certification.

In respect of the remaining area, the sale will transfer full ownership of the current tree crop to the forestry right holder and provide the ongoing right for the term of the forestry right for them to replant plantation on harvested land.

The forestry right holder will be subject to the same environmental obligations as Sustainable Timber Tasmania.

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