NSW taxpayers face having to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to prop up the logging of the state’s native forests over the next decade after the state owned Forestry Corporation forecast more than $50 million in losses over the next four years and will fail to pay over $125 million in dividends to the State Government.
The figures were outlined in reporting in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, Forestry Corp facing massive revenue drop after record bushfire season.
The reports show Forestry Corporation has written down the value of the state’s softwood plantation by $346 million due to fire damage. Taxpayers face having to subsidise Forestry Corporation for at least the next decade to repair as much as $200 million in infrastructure damage across the public native forests. At least $125m in dividends won’t be paid by Forestry Corporation to the State Government between 2020 and 2024 and year on year losses to 2024 will be more than $50 million. The total comes to almost $800 million in impairments, losses and subsidies.
Independent NSW MP Justin Field said, “It is madness that taxpayers would pay hundreds of millions of dollars to prop up the ongoing and unnecessary destruction of our native forests and wildlife from logging.
“This financial hit, alongside the devastating ecological hit from the fires only hastens the need to exit native forest logging.
“John Barilaro as Forestry Minister, Matt Kean as Environment Minister and Dominic Perrottet as Treasurer need to put their heads together and come up with a plan to exit native forest logging and support the timber industry to restructure and refocus towards plantations.
“Our public native forests are worth so much more standing as recreational reserves for nature based tourism and for biodiversity protection than they are as wood chips or decking.”
The 2019/20 forest burnt as much as 50% of NSW public native forests, including more than 80% in some areas of the South Coast.
Financial Impacts, Government grants, losses and forgone revenue outlined in the documents
Total – approx. $790m
- $46m in immediate stimulus for replanting and some infrastructure repair
- $22m reimbursement for fire fighting costs
- Between $100m and $200m in infrastructure damage in public native forests
- $31m dividend not paid in FY20
- $100m estimated dividend that won’t be paid in FY21-FY24
- Approx $50m in combined losses forecast in FY21-FY24
- $346m right down of value of softwoods plantation