Forestry corporation sell-off investigated

Friday 6 Sep 2019

The NSW government will investigate leasing out its forestry corporation as part of a plan for more asset selloffs to pay for infrastructure projects. The Australian revealed the plan last month when Premier Gladys Berejiklian said from London more asset selloffs were on the table to pay for infrastructure.

Ahead of Budget Estimates last week, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet released a statement announcing the government would seek more information about the viability of a long-term lease of the state’s commercial softwood plantation business, consistent with its asset recycling strategy.

“Forestry Corporation’s profitable softwood division consists of around 230,000 hectares of radiata pine forests primarily producing timber for use in house construction,’’ Mr Perrottet said. Mr Perrottet said it was time to consider whether it was in the best interest of the people of NSW for the Government to continue running the business.

“A government’s priority should be providing infrastructure and services for its people. Commercial operations are often better left to the private sector but we’ll wait for the outcome of a scoping study before making any decisions,” Mr Perrottet said.

“NSW is the only state left in Australia still running a softwood plantation of significant scale so it’s appropriate we take stock as a state and explore whether this is still the best approach for us.”

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said “any lease of the softwood plantations would only proceed on the basis that it posed no risk to the regional jobs involved. I can assure Forestry Corporation workers, that as the Minister for Forestry, I am determined to grow the harvestable forestry estate across NSW, increasing timber supplies and creating more jobs and better opportunities in the sector,” he said.

Source: The Australian, NSW Government

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