Title

Bushfire logs heading offshore.

Database

Electronic Media Monitoring Service 

Date

20-06-2011 08:20 AM

Source

ABC Canberra 666

Parl No.

 

Channel Name

ABC Canberra 666

Start

20-06-2011 08:20 AM

Abstract

 
End

20-06-2011 08:55 AM

Cover date

2011-06-20 08:20:42

Citation Id

336426

Enrichment

 
Reporter

EASTLEY, Tony

Speaker

LAUDER, Simon

URL

Open Item 

Parent Program URL
Text online

No

Media Deleted

False

System Id

emms/emms/336426

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Bushfire logs heading offshore. -

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The Victorian Ombudsman has been asked to investigate the export of native hardwood logs which were
salvaged after the Black Saturday bushfires. The State Government logging agency, VicForests, says
it has stopped supplying logs to one exporter after discovering that it wasn't processing the logs
first.

TONY EASTLEY: The Victorian Ombudsman has been asked to investigate the export of native hardwood
logs, salvaged after the Black Saturday bushfires.

The State Government logging agency, VicForests, says it has stopped supplying logs to one exporter
after discovering that it wasn't processing the logs first.

But a conservation group says VicForests itself also has questions to answer.

Simon Lauder reports.

SIMON LAUDER: For months Richard Hughes and others at The Wilderness Society watched as truckloads
of Victorian hard wood were delivered to a work yard in Melbourne's west.

RICHARD HUGHES: Logs were coming out of fire affected areas in the Central Highlands then
transported down to this export facility, loaded into shipping containers and went out of the
Melbourne docks overseas.

SIMON LAUDER: And how do you know they are not going through any processing here?

RICHARD HUGHES: Well, we've witnessed literally thousands of tonnes of logs being transported into
shipping containers without any processing at all and then off to the docks and shipped overseas.

SIMON LAUDER: VicForests is the agency which auctions off the timber from state forests. Under its
terms of contract the logs are supposed to be processed here.

The Wilderness Society estimates $3.5 million worth of valuable hard wood has been shipped off,
with no processing.

RICHARD HUGHES: The export of literally thousands of tonnes of whole logs overseas without being
processed in Australia is a major issue for the conservation of Victoria's forests and environment,
for jobs within the Victorian timber industry and for local communities that depend on that
employment.

SIMON LAUDER: A spokesman for VicForests has told AM that when the logs were sold, VicForests was
satisfied that they were to be processed before being shipped.

The CEO of VicForests David Pollard spoke to the ABC about the sale earlier this month.

DAVID POLLARD: The company bought logs from us which were offered in the auction but which were not
taken up by anybody so they were sold as a kind of leftover package of logs, if you like, and they
made use of them in a manner that nobody else was prepared to make use of.

SIMON LAUDER: Richard Hughes from The Wilderness Society says VicForests can't independently
investigate because it sold the logs and that's why the matter is being referred to the Ombudsman.

RICHARD HUGHES: The outcomes that we are seeking are an immediate halt to the export of whole logs
overseas. We want to see an investigation of all of VicForests' contracts to ensure that there are
no other exports of whole logs are carrying with other contracts.

SIMON LAUDER: The CEO of VicForests David Pollard was unavailable to speak to AM this morning. A
spokesman says VicForests suspended the contract with the exporter as soon as it was made aware
that the logs weren't being processed.

VicForests says the practice of exporting unprocessed logs is not illegal.

TONY EASTLEY: Simon Lauder reporting from Melbourne.