timber and forestry e news issue 327

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Weekly news for the Australian and new Zealand timber and forestry industries


  • 1ISSUE 327 | PAGE

    A SECRET communication revealed by DLP Senator John Madigan indicates CSIRO management has reportedly axed the last remaining 33 forest scientists.

    Speaking on ABC Lateline, Senator Madigan said: What concerns me is that today, while everybodys been consumed with what else is going on here in parliament, theres been a letter go out from CSIRO saying that theyre going to retrench, get rid of 33 scientists in the timber section.

    The senator added: Now, on one hand the government talks about opening up, you know, our forests to the timber industry. But on the other hand, here are the

    people that if the government is serious about the carbon farming initiative, Direct Action, these are

    the people we need who have the technical expertise to help


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    ISSUE 327 | July 21, 2014

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    Pedalling sound forestry message .. AFPA CEO Ross Hampton on his recent timber bike campaign lobbies the CSIRO to reconsider cutting the jobs of forest scientists. Canberra Times photo

    Axe to CSIRO jobs85 years of forest science cut

    down to meet budget demands

  • PAGE | ISSUE 3272

    INTRODUCTION of the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act would impose an annual compliance cost of about $340 million on Australias wood products, furniture and timber importers, says a joint industry submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Environment Inquiry.

    The submission by the Timber Veneer Association of Australia and the Window and Door Industry Council says the regulations will require more than 17,000 importers of regulated products to have a due diligence system in place to demonstrate and document that all their imports are of low risk of containing illegally logged timber.

    The Timber Veneer Association of Australia and the Window and Door Industry Council represent member businesses, mostly small and medium-sized importers of regulated timber products and their customers in the wood products manufacturing and distribution sectors.

    We fully support reducing illegal logging but these regulations will not be effective or efficient at achieving this goal, the submission said.

    The high costs of due diligence will flow on to retailers, builders, secondary wood products manufacturers and consumers.

    The submission says the original CIE Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIS) on the Act found that the costs exceeded the benefits. There isnt any RIS for the regulations nor have they been subject to scrutiny such as senate estimates, parliamentary

    debate (the Bill was passed without its regulations) or a parliamentary inquiry.

    In effect, the due diligence requirements could mean that for every different import shipment or parcel, importers may need to ensure and document compliance with foreign national, state and local laws.

    They may need to track back through many overseas businesses and manufacturers on every supply chain, to the forest source of all timber, know the regulations that applied in that country and forest, and that harvest by unknown third parties complied with these.

    Large amounts of information may need to be sifted through in order to try to detect illegal logging. Records and documentation will need to be kept for five years. All this will be very costly and could be extremely complex and difficult.

    The due diligence requirements, says the submission, are ambiguous as to what information is optional and what is compulsory.

    The definition of illegal logging isnt clarified either in the regulations or the act. Ambiguity and uncertainty in law create cost, not just for business but also for governments.

    The due diligence requirements contain requirements that are quite unreasonable, such as to determine the prevalence of armed conflict, ensure that the rights of all persons claiming connection with timber/land have been met and to consider any information that may indicate whether the timber was illegally logged, the submission emphasised.

    No other country imposes such unreasonable regulatory requirements on businesses. The US illegal logging legislation (the Lacey Act) has no due diligence requirements.




    Legality compliance a$340m cost to industryRegulations will not achieve the goal: submission

    Copping the cost .. illegal logging compliance will place heavy financial burden on the wood products industries, such as timber veneer manufacture.

    The costs will exceed the benefits

    May have to track every supply chain

    Cont P 6

  • 3ISSUE 327 | PAGE

    deliver what the governments claiming they were going to do.

    So why on Earth would you get rid of 33 people from a department that 20 years ago had about 300 staff, thats down now to the bare bones at 33?

    CSIRO has been conducting research in this area since 1930 increasing knowledge in water management, productivity (rates of tree growth), pest management, biodiversity, new uses for fibre, silviculture, climate science and many other areas.

    Disheartened CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association Ross Hampton responded: Scarcely four months ago the Prime Minister called for a renaissance in forestry at an industry dinner for 600 people in the Great Hall of Parliament House.

    The Prime Minister said, We want the timber industry to be a vital part of Australias economic future, not just something that was a relic of our history. That is what this government wants.

    Mr Hampton said it was unbelievable to the 80,000 people who work in this industry that today the government is standing by in silence as CSIRO management reportedly takes the axe to forestry research, ending 85 years of world leading, productivity-driving breakthroughs.

    Our competitor nations understand that in a carbon constrained global economy, with a global population forecast to grow to 9.5 billion in a few decades, we need to develop new uses for our renewable, recyclable and carbon neutral timber.

    While our competitor nations are backing forestry R&D, Australia is seemingly backing out. It makes no sense.

    Senator Madigan said the timber industry employed 24,000 people in his home state of Victoria.

    Across the nation, I think its about 77,000-odd people. Its 6.7% of our manufacturing input an output of $22 billion of turnover.

    Its suggested 200,000 people are employed indirectly as a flow-on from the timber industry. You know, there is no doubt, among all the people I talk to, people who are either sceptical of the carbon-climate change, whatever youd like to say, but also who firmly hold that view that this is a problem, that everybody agrees that trees consume carbon dioxide.

    Now, I wouldve thought that the government would not be going down this path.

    Senator Madigan told Lateline he had attempted to ring [industry] minister Ian Macfarlane, whose portfolio controls CSIRO.

    To this point in time tonight, he said on Lateline, Ive heard absolutely nothing. I rang, then I rang Minister [Greg] Hunts office, and at least one of his advisers, his senior advisers came over to discuss my concerns. But he says, you know, its Minister Macfarlanes area. And I said, well how on Earth is Minister Hunt going to deliver Direct Action if were getting rid of the people in the timber industry,

    these scientists?It doesnt make sense.Pressed on the source of the

    communication about CSIRO, Senator Madigan said it was passed on by somebody who was very concerned about what was happening.

    As far as I know, these people were given eight weeks notice that their jobs no longer exist.

    Asked about the impact of

    the job losses, Senator Madigan said: Well, these people are critical. Its a bit like at home with the Creswick Forestry School in Victoria just outside Ballarat. These people are world leaders in their field. Now, what I fear is going to happen is that these people are going to go to places like Chile, Vietnam, China, possibly Canada and New Zealand.

    On the subject of New Zealand, they take forestry very seriously. There are some amazing things going on in the sector of forestry and how we might get alternative fuels out of it.


    While our competitor nations are backingforestry R&D, Australia is seemingly backing

    out. It makes no sense: Ross Hampton

    Timber industry vital part of our economic future

    These people were given eight weeks notice