A year of transition for Forestry Tasmania

Yesterday, Forestry Tasmania’s Annual Report was released. The report was tabled in Parliament on Thursday and is available on Sustainable Timber Tasmania’s website.

Forestry Tasmania’s comprehensive result for 2016/17 was a loss of AU$24.1 million, a significant improvement from the AU$65.4 million loss in 2015/16. Both of these results however were significantly impacted by non- cash items, namely the revaluations of the forest estate and superannuation liabilities.

“The Board, management and staff of Forestry Tasmania have been very focussed over the last year on the transition to a new operating model” said Mr Rob de Fégely, Chairman of Sustainable Timber Tasmania’s board.

“We have completed a range of projects including negotiating sawlog price increases, implementing new contracts for southern residues, completing an organisational restructure, conducting an internationally competitive plantation sale process, moving several offices into more appropriate accommodation, and completing the sale of the Tahune Airwalk business.”

“These significant changes have been necessary to ensure we have the right structure, systems and skilled people to deliver our ongoing legislative obligations, while also meeting the Government’s clearly stated expectations for our new business. These expectations include being leaner, financially sustainable, and more focused, efficient, innovative and accountable.”

“We did this while continuing to supply 50 customers with about 1.43 million tonnes of forest products from Permanent Timber Production Zone land, despite the challenges created by a heavy rain and major floods which impacted our operations. This included over 117,000 m3 of high quality sawlogs.”

The report describes the focus on increasing revenue and reducing expenses during this transition year provides a solid foundation to transitioning to a financially sustainable business. The improvements in 2016/17 as a result of the transition projects will underpin future gains in ongoing cash earnings of at least AU$7.5 million per year.

“At the end of the financial year we had net borrowings of AU$26.1 million which have now been retired with part of the proceeds from the hardwood plantation forestry right sale. A highlight of the year has been obtaining Forest Stewardship Council® Controlled Wood certification for our plantation operations - a significant step in our journey seeking FSC® Forest Management certification.”

Source: Sustainable Timber Tasmania

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