Will Hodgman

Premier of Tasmania



14 September 2017

Guy Barnett, Minister for Resources

Plantations sale a huge winner for health, jobs and the economy

It is extraordinary the lengths the Labor-Green opposition will go to try and put a negative slant on a great outcome for Tasmania.

The outcome we have announced today:

  • Will make Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT) debt-free, as per the objective we laid out for the sale;
  • Progresses STT much closer to becoming commercially sustainable, as per the objective we laid out for the sale; and
  • Will deliver a new, direct investment into our health system expected to be in the order of $15 million – a new and additional benefit achieved by obtaining a higher than expected result.

Attempted comparisons by Labor between previous sales involving hundreds of thousands of hectares of freehold land and other assets are nonsensical and akin to comparing apples and oranges. Unlike with the deal Labor is trying to compare to, no land is being sold, and harvested areas will be re-planted at the purchaser’s cost and returned to STT at the end of the forestry right.

As part of the pre-sale process we took advice on likely sale outcomes from the sale of forestry rights.  This advice indicated that Tasmanian and Australian sales transaction history suggests the indicative values paid per hectare for first rotation hardwood plantation estates in Australia ranges from $1,500-2,000/ha for plantation trees. Clearly the result we have achieved is at the upper end of that band and represents a good outcome for the state.

I’m also disappointed by the red herrings thrown out about Reliance Forest Fibre. Where the parent of the parent is registered is completely irrelevant - the tress are growing here, the extra jobs will be here and additional funds will be invested in our health system.

Reliance Forest Fibre will establish a local management team and use Tasmanian contractors, creating new jobs in the state.

It is quite extraordinary that Labor opposed this and therefore oppose an additional $15 million into health – their plan was to do the opposite and take $100 million over four years out of health and education to subsidise STT.



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