Opinion

Let the industry manage, benefit from thinning

by
June 14, 2017

Allowing local sawmill businesses access to timber taken from the forest through thinning trials should be a ‘no brainer’ (page 1).

The benefits of such an action would flow to all.

Sawmill businesses would have more timber for productive purposes, and therefore the potential to employ more people.

At the same time, there would still be adequate supply of firewood for local families.

Charging more for commercial use of the product would raise revenue for the National Parks and Wildlife Service as well.

As NSW Member for Murray Adrian Piccoli indicates, this would not result in any more timber coming out of the forests — although there is an argument to be had about the requirement for more widespread thinning in the park, too.

This is about efficiency and economy building ... two terms the NSW Government is often championing.

The Nationals are attempting to find a solution to a former NSW Labor Government decision that effectively ended one of this region’s most versatile industries. The timber industry had survived drought and floods but could not escape the soon-to-be-defeated Labor Party that held office in 2010.

Thinning can create economical and environmental benefits. It has the potential to replace some of the $86 million the National Parks conversion is estimated to cost this region each year from the shutdown of the timber industry.

Surely forest thinning can attract the support of The Nationals’ Coalition counterparts and Labor in achieving these goals.

And this is only step one.

The ultimate goal is to have our regional timber industry workers — the ones who managed the forests well before Greens ideology forced their closure to the industry — completing the thinning trials.

That can only lead to more regional jobs and revenue.

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