South Australia stakeholder group Don't Privatise SA Forests releases community impact statement on state's proposed sale of ForestrySA assets, says sale would cost 3,000 jobs

Wendy Lisney

Wendy Lisney

Mar 11, 2011 – Dont't Privatise SA Forests

MOUNT GAMBIER, Australia , March 9, 2011 (press release) – The Forestry Stakeholder group have released a report that shows that the forward sale of Forestry SA plantations will have an adverse effect on the South East region.

The Forestry Stakeholder Group led by the three local Councils has released an independent Community Impact Statement to quantify the effect on the South East Community of the proposal to forward sell the harvesting rights of Forestry SA Plantations. The Community Impact Statement was undertaken as a result of the South Australian Governments proposed forward sale by pre eminent resource economist Dr Bob Smith, one of Australia’s most experienced forestry experts.

Key findings of the Community Impact Statement include:

1. By 2027/28 the purchaser would have the option to sell 100% of logs outside the South East Region.

2. There is the potential by 2020/21 for around 40% of logs from Forestry SA’s softwood estate to be exported reducing wood based manufacturing jobs in the South East area.

The Mayor of the District Council for Grant, Richard Sage said “The Community Impact Statement indicates that Forestry SA supports around 2,100 direct jobs and almost 1,000 indirect jobs in the Lower South East Region. There is no doubt that this proposal would have a devastating effect on the local economy if up to 3,000 jobs were lost within this region.

The Mayor of the City of Mount Gambier, Steve Perryman said, ‘If the State Government proceeds with a forward sale, in as little as 16 years every log harvested from our state owned forests could be exported out of Australia for processing leaving no logs for our local mills, and no jobs for our local community.’

The Community Impact Statement indicates that the community is strongly of the view that the combination of strong revenue streams from Forestry SA to the South Australian Government and commitment to regional processing and jobs provides a basis of the support for continuation of current ownership arrangements for Forestry SA. The Community Impact Statement highlights that there are also negative flow‐on impacts for community confidence and industry development.

The Mayor of the Wattle Range Council, Peter Gandolfi said, “This proposal is already having an effect on business confidence in the region. It’s our belief that if the sale was to proceed it would have an adverse effect on the South East economically and socially”.

“We need further expansion of the forestry estate, long term contracts for good quality logs which will lead to further investment by private companies for state of the art modern sawmills to produce quality value added products for the Australian and overseas markets. Not a stupid proposal to forward sell our heritage and region’s future for a quick cash grab”, Mayor Richard Sage said.

To date, the State Government has not communicated a preferred structure of business model for the sale of the harvesting rights of Forestry SA Plantations. It is understood that the State Government proposal is the sale of up to three (3) rotations of the Forestry SA Pine Plantations.

For further details contact any of the undersigned Mayors.
Steve PERRYMAN, MAYOR City of Mount Gambier
Richard SAGE, MAYOR District Council of Grant
Peter GANDOLFI, MAYOR Wattle Range Council

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