Mill operator happy timber is not an election


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19-08-2010 08:21 AM


ABC Canberra 666

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ABC Canberra 666


19-08-2010 08:21 AM



19-08-2010 08:56 AM

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2010-08-19 08:21:41

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Mill operator happy timber is not an election -

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TONY EASTLEY: We're broadcasting this morning from a saw mill in far north-west Tasmania.

Shawn Britton here is production manager with Britton Timbers. He's been in the timber industry all
his working life.

The mill is a major employer in these parts along with dairy and agriculture.

Like a lot of his mates he's concerned about the future of the industry.

He's surprised that logging has taken such a low profile in this election campaign but he's happy
it's not a hot button issue because he says they have been hurt in the past.

He's just happy he's got logs.

So how much timber goes through this plant in a year?

SHAWN BRITTON: We cut approximately 30,000 cubic metres of logs. Of that about 60 per cent is
Tasmanian oak and about 40 per cent is Tasmanian blackwood.

TONY EASTLEY: So your great-grandfather Elijah, he reckoned when he quit work that he said I think
to your grandfather was it at that stage, he said look there might be 10 years left in it, you'd
better hurry up. But he was wrong.

SHAWN BRITTON: Yeah the resource in our district has been very sustainable over the last 150-odd

TONY EASTLEY: Well how did he get it so wrong do you think? He was a timber man through and

SHAWN BRITTON: It's always been a story where people have looked at the resource and thought that
it's going to run out. But as we know today the trees are still growing. Our native forests here in
north-west Tasmania grow very well. Our weather helps that...

TONY EASTLEY: Well the rain is teeming down as we talk.

SHAWN BRITTON: And so the trees grow well. Our resource grows in approximately 50 to 70 years which
is what we're processing today so that what we're cutting today wasn't even growing when Elijah
probably made those comments.

TONY EASTLEY: Is there any concern that come the federal election that if the Greens get a larger
say in Canberra in Federal Parliament, would there be concern in this part of the world if that was

SHAWN BRITTON: There certainly would be concern. I mean we get sick and tired of being a political
football every federal or state election.

TONY EASTLEY: Because a few elections in the past you have, it has been front and centre. But this
election the actual timber industry has barely got a look in.

SHAWN BRITTON: That's probably pleasing as far as we go.

TONY EASTLEY: You don't mind that.

SHAWN BRITTON: You know we had the Latham election back in 2004 where our entire industry was
nearly shut down.

So we're confident that both political parties will be supporting a sustainable forest, native
forest industry in Tasmania.

TONY EASTLEY: You say you're confident about the future but are you really across what both parties
are offering in this election? Are they making it clear enough to you and people in the industry?

SHAWN BRITTON: We haven't heard a great deal of policy coming out from either party. We understand
the Liberals are fully supportive of the Regional Forest Agreement which has been the cornerstone
behind our industry for the last 15 years.

There hasn't been a Labor policy launch on forestry as such. So we take that as meaning that
continued support of the Regional Forest Agreement.

TONY EASTLEY: Shawn Britton.