Better late than never, ABC Rural reports that South East Fiber Exports have announced they will be retrenching 20 staff – 30% of their current workforce – and reducing down to one shift because they can’t sell woodchips.
While job losses in and of themselves can’t be considered good news, this situation is just one downside to a system that is unsustainable and has been artificially supported for some time. The reduced capacity to sell woodchips is expected to continue in the short to medium term and whether the company stays afloat depends on how long shareholders are prepared to carry the costs.
There is no suggestion that the rate of native forest logging will reduce, despite it being driven by the similarly unsustainable and commercially non-viable sawlog industry. However, it is difficult to separate the two markets and the sawmills won’t have a market for their ‘waste’ woodchips so they too will face hard times.
Not put off, the Australian Forests Products Association has released their vision for a forestry led ‘Renewable future’ proposing that ‘ A truly forward-looking approach is needed to reposition the forest, wood and paper products industries at the forefront of the new low-carbon economy.’
The vision is said to be based on a ‘holistic view’ where all forests are available for logging and the AFPA’s capacity to work with others relies on a proposal to ” . . . Provide a policy framework for carbon that does not attempt to regulate other land use issues (e.g. water, biodiversity, community issues), which are more appropriately addressed elsewhere in public regulation.’
In contrast, the vision of a holistic approach for koalas and a functioning environment in general aims toward ESFM and must consider carbon, water, biodiversity and community issues at a local scale.
If nothing else a self imploding timber industry helps sort the wheat from the chaffe when it comes to evaluating some proposed models of management.