4 Apr 2013

Forest trust says strong support for compulsory levy

12:05 pm on 4 April 2013

The forest industry is still counting the votes for a proposed compulsory levy, but says it's in the bag.

A forest growers' trust has been running a referendum seeking support for a commodity levy to fund research and other programmes that would benefit the whole sector.

It's proposing an across the board levy in the first year of 27 cents per cubic metre of harvested logs.

The referendum closed at the end of last week.

Trust chair Geoff Thompson says final postal votes are still being counted but interim results show the levy has had substantial support from forest owners, both in terms of numbers who voted and area of forest.

Members of the Forest Owners Association, generally larger operators who account for more than 80% of the plantation forest area, already pay voluntary levies.

But there are thousands of other forestry growers who don't contribute and the referendum was aimed at getting them involved, as well.