9 Apr 2009

Review of loss-making West Coast forests under way

3:13 pm on 9 April 2009

The Government has begun a review to decide the future of its West Coast forests which are losing between $4 million and $5 million a year.

Last year the Government wound up the failed state-owned enterprise, Timberlands West Coast, and took back more than 30,000 hectares of radiata pine, Tasmanian blackwood and cypress.

The forests are in areas of low soil quality, have expensive land preparation and roading associated with them and are a relatively long distance from the market.

Foresters say pine grown on the West Coast is clean and attractive for panelling because of its bright white colour, but is still uneconomic to produce there.

MAF Crown Forestry says its timber holdings must be made profitable. It aims to finish its review by September and its conclusions will go to Cabinet for a decision.