Hardwood industry is not the culprit here

Maurie Killeen, Stratford


There is need to point out a few misguided thoughts of Dawn Stubbs.

The heading indicates the letter is in answer to concerns of Bunnings not stocking hardwood timber products sourced from VicForests.

Then the remainder of the letter is a long entry about the woodchip-paper manufacturing industry that has very little, if any, relationship with VicForests resource finishing up at Bunnings.

The hardwood timber industry has been with us in Australia for 160 years, selectively sourcing supply of sawlogs from government forests for sawmills to cut timber to build houses, bridges, wharfs, large buildings, churches halls, and so on. Selective logging takes the larger trees, which are 10 to 20 per cent of the forest, letting the smaller trees to grow to future saw logs, maintaining a forest.

Sawmills do not require the clear felling practice for resource supply.

The hardwood chip and paper manufacturing industry has been with us in Australia for only 50-odd years, clear felling supply for paper products, resulting in no forest resource for 30 years to woodchip and paper and 100 to 150 years for sawmills.

They were two separate industries until the Cain-Kirner Victorian Labor government decided in the mid 1980s to integrate the two operations on government land, utilising clear felling practices for both industries.

It is disappointing the lack of understanding of the true timber industry (sawmilling) compared to the woodchip and paper industry.

The timber and woodchip-paper industry hasn’t used up the resource; it has been locked away. The resource is still there but mismanaged.

The sawmills which take resource from VicForests to supply value added hardwood timber products to Bunnings and others are not the culprits in this debate.