Stakeholder Update - October 2016
VicForests responds to opinion piece in The Age
An opinion piece in The Age on 5 October (Native forests are worth more unlogged, so why are we still cutting them down?) repeated a number of often-raised inaccuracies about the native timber industry in Australia.
In particular, it dismissed the economic contribution of the industry and questioned the profitability of the Government agencies that manage timber resources including VicForests.
As we have pointed out previously, VicForests has posted combined profits of $20 million during the 11 years of our operations and have been profitable in all but three years during this time. In addition to this we expect to again post a profit for the 2015/16 year.
But the reality is, our operations are only a small part of the overall economic contribution made by the industry in Victoria.
A 2015 study by Deloitte Access Economics showed that harvesting operations from 1600 hectares of forest in the Central Highlands contributed almost $600 million to the Victorian economy.
Even more economic activity is generated through downstream processing of this timber by the manufacturing sector. The magnitude of these flow on effects dwarf any over inflated value that may be derived from hypothetical markets not accessible to VicForests.
We understand the focus on our finances and the viability of the industry but a balanced view would recognise that looking at only one component of a broader industry does not give readers a full understanding of the issue.
The Australian Forest Products Association submitted a letter to The Age to provide an industry perspective following yesterday's article. Click here if you would like to read a copy of the AFPA letter.
A letter in response to this article from Forestry Corporation of NSW was also published in the Sydney Morning Herald.