Forestry deal sinks Tasmanian wooden boat building

THE future of Tasmania’s valuable wooden boat building industry is directly threatened by the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) on future use of Tasmania’s forests according to the following media release…

“Locking up the remaining sources of timber used by Tasmania’s wooden boat builders will destroy what is currently a very valuable, viable and iconic industry,” Coalition Forestry Spokesman Senator Richard Colbeck said.

“Details of the sham agreement are spreading far and wide and I am now being contacted by boat builders who fear Tasmania’s wooden boat building industry will be ruined.

“Discussion on the impending disaster for the sector has global reach through industry blogs.

“Despite the fact that 90 per cent of two key iconic species, Celery Top Pine and King Bill Pine, are already in reserves the Greens are still not satisfied.

“More than 70 per cent of remaining sources of these timbers are in the 430,000 hectares rubber stamped by former Wilderness Society director Jonathan West in his flimsy advice accepted by the Prime Minister and the Premier last week.

“And 94 per cent of remaining sources are in the 572,000 hectares that the environment groups claim as High Conservation Value.

“The wooden boat industry has an estimated annual value of $50 million but without a timber supply it has no future.

“Destroying Tasmania’s wooden boat building industry also undermines the legitimacy of hosting the highly successful Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart, which is one of the largest festivals of its type in the world.

“This festival began in 1994 and attracted 100,000 people last year. Given building these boats can take up to 12 months, providing significant employment opportunities for master craftsmen, the significance of the economic contribution of wooden boats is clear.

“What will it mean for this internationally-recognised event if Tasmania’s iconic wooden boat building industry is destroyed?

“The Greens tell us tourism is the future for Tasmania but its own greedy and clumsy policy seeks to lock the tourism industry out of areas currently open and it also threatens to impact major tourist events like the Wooden Boat Festival.

Tasmanian woodwork blog:

End of media release

13 Responses to Forestry deal sinks Tasmanian wooden boat building

  1. cementafriend August 25, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    Everyday brings more senseless distruction from this hopeless ALP-Greens coalition
    Dating back to the wooden boat building by convict labour on Sarah Island Tasmania has built some of the best boats in the world.

  2. Robert August 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    One problem is the de-sensitising process of recent years, whereby impulsive government waste dwarfs any figure we can elicit in favour of a single enterprise. Not long ago, a 50 million dollar skilled industry was an impressive thing, something to be nurtured. Now fifty million is added to or subtracted from a “program” or “stimulus” with such ease that we need a “hit” of tens of billions before our synapses respond.

    Massive debt, massive spending, massive taxation, while the country becomes one big coal raffle…with fingers crossed that the burners keep burning. (As to the awkward fact that the boat-timber’s carbon is stored, we just don’t talk about it! And you’d be amazed how passively the Fairfax-reading classes co-operate in these nifty oversights!)

    Of course, there will still be plenty of Green Jobs in such exciting areas as accounting, auditing, regulation, compliance, and, of course, brochure design.

  3. ianl8888 August 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm #


    The point to this “senseless destruction” is that Brown/Milne et al WANT to reduce current economic activities, especially mining (through nimbyism, sovereign risk, FUD), and presumably replace them sooner or likely much later with a considerably lower base and form of activity

    From this viewpoint, to them it is not senseless. That the process destroys the ALP is irrelevant to this

  4. Neville August 26, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    But Labor Green coalitions will always wreck economies and budgets whenever these hopeless loons form govt.

    Just look at what the Gillard/Brown govt initiative has in store for us from 2020 to 2050.

    Terry McCrann has crunched the numbers and found we will be sending $650 billion overseas just for the right to use our own coal here in Australia.

    This has to be the most barking mad govt in the southern hemisphere. Of course this won’t change the climate or temp by a jot but will shred those billions for a definite zero return.

  5. spangled drongo August 26, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    If the Greens can’t even accept an industry that embodies carbon sequestration using a very selective renewable resource, what cred can they ever muster?

    This is one industry Tasmania should really be promoting.


    Twenty years ago they found big quantities of Huon Pine cut by the convicts at Sarah Is prior to 1835. It had been seasoning for over 150 years and was the best boatbuilding timber you could ever wish for. I was offered a truck load for $10 a super foot which was great value.

    o/t, the ABC is having a comp to name a recently discovered pulsar that is all extremely dense carbon and could be a giant diamond.

    They should name it Joolya. Imagine the tax she could extract. It’d make that 650 bil look like play money.

  6. Rick Bradford August 26, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    Where’s the surprise?

    Anything individual, anything exceptional, is anathema to the Left/Greens as it reminds them of their own inadequacy.

    It therefore must be smashed, and an environmental cover is always a popular choice.

  7. cinders August 26, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    This latest forest lock up is a disaster for Tasmania but the Federal government can’t see it. Not only will it reserve the areas where the iconic special timbers grow it will reserve both regrowth and mature multiple use forest that the sawmillers rely on for high quality timbers and place off limits the very resource new industry envisaged by Labor’s own National forest Policy Statement to use regrowth rather than old growth forests.

    Despite 25 years of campaigning, we now have included as High Conservation Value forest to be reserved over 40,000 ha of forest that has been harvested in the last 50 years, most clear felled and burnt. The reserves also include the Army’s live firing ranges (watch out bushwalkers for unexploded bombs!

    The Greens are demanding that all 572,000 ha be added as National parks to Tasmania’s World Heritage Area which already extends to 1.38 million hectares, this will mean no forestry, no mining and no tourist development, not even a fly over.

    We need to rely on the person appointed by the Prime Minister to act as the independent verifier, after all the media reported that when he was the National Director of the Wilderness society in 1987 he told Tasmanians:
    “The Wilderness society knows what it wants and there will be no second grabs for more if it gets it he said. Leave untouched the forests listed on the National estate, principally the southern forests, the Lemonthyme, Jackeys Marsh and the Douglas Apsley … and there will be total peace, he said. West said the areas represented only 10 per cent of the forests available to logging.”
    Hopefully he can do the maths to work out what is 10% of Tasmania’s 2.2 million ha public forest estate, and support a sustainable regional based forest industry.

  8. debbie August 27, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    Poor Tassie!
    That state seems to get picked on by the conservation movement more than any other.
    The last figures I heard they were at 40% unemployment…I’m not sure if that’s correct but I know it is disproportionately high in Tasmania.
    Their forestry and timber industry has been under attack from many quarters.
    It appears that ‘sustainable’ industry is not allowed to apply there.
    They are also under severe attack for wanting to develop some irrigation infrastructure.
    Also for wanting to develop some new vineyards with ‘frost resistant’ varieties that make unique and much sought after wines.
    Don’t forget it was also the Franklin below Gordon (Or Gordon below Franklin???) case that set the precedent for Federal Govts to over ride State Government decisions regarding their natural resources via international treaties such as Ramsar.
    Maybe the ‘ecotourism industry’ can take up the slack in employment figures ?(NOT!) 🙂
    Read up on the disgraceful bullying of the family who owned the wood chipping company there.

  9. gavin August 27, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    Deb; it was Gordon below Franklin.

    Cinders “We need to rely on the person appointed by the Prime Minister to act as the independent verifier”

    I can’t find anything official later than this.

  10. cinders August 28, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    Gavin, Jonathan West name was first linked to the forest process in the Australian when the Independent Facilitator met with two former directors of the Wilderness Society for a coffee and chat at Hobart’s Salamanca place.
    Under the Heads of Agreement that guaranteed wood supply and fitting new reserves around that supply, West was appointed by the PM as the Independent Verifier.

    After the Inter-government agreement was signed that guaranteed the reserves and allowed the wood supply to be fitted around them, or to have compensation paid for lost jobs. The PM explained she had relied on the advice of the Independent Verifier:
    “we had technical advice which we had not received before from Jonathan West …in the 14 day period in between was in a position to make a recommendation to us about the treatment of the 430.” This was despite receiving detailed advice from Forestry Tasmania’s qualified experts
    that had already been independently assessed by a Forestry academic.

    Some background on Professor West can be found at you might remember him from his campaign to get reid of Denison MHR Michael Hodgman in favour of the ALP’s Duncan Kerr in 1987.

  11. gavin August 28, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Cinders; I looked up that woodworking link in the thread leader this arvo and concluded the whole wooden boat issue is quite small even for the Tasmanian economy as it goes forward from this agreement. My reasons are many including the hoarding of rarer timbers as mentioned by one commentator in that forum.

    My main focus today though is the buyer revolution going on as all our manufacturing slips off to Asia. For example we had a young Chinese family ex Melbourne selling off their contract garment sewing remnants at my local market today. They also had a rack of fully imported children’s garments for just two dollars each. Another Chinese couple were selling off all his tiler tools before returning to their homeland after four years trade work in Canberra. I grabbed his as new long shock proof level and much longer brickies hollow straight edge for my collection.

    As hand tools are still my big passion, I’m acutely aware of trends in the building industry that reduce dependence on traditional tool quality and user experience hence I can resharpen, re-handle then recycle a whole range of Australian made tools or their overseas equivalents from about the 1950’s. I think about old brand names and what established their reputation a lot but it may surprise some that I lobbied both governments recently on the value of our native forests as the source of hardwood handles and many other things we should find in say Bunnings hardware stores today.

  12. wes george September 9, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    Why is it OK to destroy one of our traditional culturally iconic trades but everyone else’s culture deserves special exemption respect?

    Sometimes I get this sinking feeling that multiculturalism is really a passive aggressive assault on traditional Australian culture and values.

    But I suppose that just makes me a racist. Right?

  13. craig english December 1, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    I was fortunate to build a number of wooden boats in Tasmania in 1986 along with a group of four other young people under the mentorship of a master wooden boatbuilder. At that time the woodchip industry claimed that its product was the end point of forest “waste”. Eventually trashing forests for a quick dollar became a massive industry in Tasmania with most specialist timber mills forced to close. This was supported by Government sanction. There is no point complaining now about lack of access to fine timber resources in Tasmania, and blaming the Greens, because the community in general has had the last 25 years to stop the destruction, and did nothing. Have a look at how the French people tend to feel about the destruction of their natural culture, as an example, and what they do when they get upset about it. Bit late now, don’t you think?

Website by 46digital