Department of Primary Industries and Energy
1 December 1995
The Minister for Resources, David Beddall, today issued hardwood woodchip export licences for 1996.
The decision was taken in the context of the Government's broad objectives in forest policy, which seek to encourage a world competitive forest industry, focussed on value-adding while protecting high conservation value forests.
"In taking my decisions on these licences I have sought to encourage value-adding processing in Australia and to minimise any economic and social impacts on regional communities," Mr Beddall said.
"A new licence has been granted to the Tasmanian Development Authority on behalf of the Taiwan Pulp and Paper Corporation to facilitate the building of Australia's first world-scale Kraft pulp mill.
"This Tasmanian pulp mill will be required to meet the Government's new environmental guidelines and will utilise woodchips that would otherwise be exported.
"All exporters are being required to give priority to sourcing woodchips from sawmill waste material and from operations that are maximising the use of all trees harvested.
"This will create an increased demand for these wastes ensuring sawmills get a fair share of the profits from woodchip exports so they remain viable and contribute jobs in regional communities.
"It is expected that almost 40% of all woodchips exported next year will be derived from this type of waste material. This compares with less than 30%last year.
"The next level of priority is given to thinning operations, to ensure our forests are managed to generate future supplies of quality sawntimber.
"Exporters will be required to report on progress against proposed value adding projects they have identified in their applications and their progress will be a consideration when future export licence applications are being evaluated.
"The licences specifically exclude the export of woodchips from rainforest and whole sawlogs will not be chipped.
"Also excluded are woodchips from old-growth forests unless the woodchips are from waste produced from sawlog driven harvesting operations.
"Advice from Senator Faulkner on environmental impacts was given careful consideration and, in line with that advice, woodchip export volumes for NSW were reduced and the export of woodchips from logs sourced from the Victorian Wombat Forest was not approved.
To encourage plantation development export controls will be lifted on woodchips sourced from plantations early in 1996.
"The level of hardwood woodchip exports are constrained this year by a ceiling of 5.251 million tonnes agreed by Cabinet.
"This compares with the nearly 9 million tonnes sought by applicants responding to buoyant international market conditions.
"This ceiling represents a significant cut (11%) to the volume of woodchip licences issued last year and is the lowest level approved since the National Forest Policy Statement was signed in 1992.
"Licences have been initially issued for 80% of the ceiling to give industry certainty while States consider the Government's Deferred Forest Agreements and Scoping Agreements for comprehensive regional assessments of regional forests.
"Licences for the remaining 20% of the ceiling will be issued when States sign these Agreements," Mr Beddall said.
A the Government's woodchip policy;
B details of export licences issued;
C criteria used to assess licence applications;
D licence conditions included in all hardwood woodchip export licences;
E monitoring arrangements; and
F removing controls on plantations.
Minister's office Tamara Johnson 06 277 7440 015 266370