Bookmark and Share  

Conservationist wins case for woodchip supply contract - no legal requirement to keep on logging


A far south coast conservationist has won a long running battle for a copy of the wood chip supply contract between the Forestry Corporation and South East Fibre Exports (SEFE).

Convener of the Chipstop Campaign, Harriett Swift said that it has taken almost 2 years from when she first lodged the Government Information (Public Access) GIPA request for the Wood Supply Agreement.

“SEFE had rights as a ‘third party’ to object to my request and did so at every opportunity along the way.”

“They eventually rolled over at the very last moment when their final deadline for a court appeal expired,” Ms Swift said.

The document is now available on the Forestry Corporation website at  [1]

 In its initial objection to the release of the contract, SEFE claimed that: “to allow the release … could in the current circumstances, force the third party to wind up Eden woodchip export business, at significant cost to Forests NSW and remote regional communities in south east NSW.”[2]

“In other words, SEFE was claiming that the truth would cause the chipmill to close,” Ms Swift said.

“I just hope they are correct about that,” she added.

The SEFE chipmill contract was the last native forest hardwood supply agreement in NSW to become public. All the others were released to the public almost 3 years ago.

“Having now had the opportunity to read this document it is clear that there is no substantive legal impediment to the chipmill closing,” she said.

“For years, Forestry Corporation and SEFE have both hidden behind this contract, saying that they have a legal obligation to keep on logging.”

“This is rubbish.”

“On my reading of the contract, this is simply not true. Either party can pull out at any time they like, provided there are compelling circumstances such as the crash of the export market as we are seeing at the moment.

“In recent weeks we have seen SEFE end its supply contract with Vic Forests and pull out of its loading and shipping agreement with Eastern Iron. The contract with NSW Forestry Corporation was apparently the only remaining obstacle to closure.”

“We now know there is no good reason to keep the chipmill operating or to keep on logging,” Ms Swift said.

 3 August 2014


[1] Click on Southern, then open  WS_Harris-Daishowa Australia Pty Ltd

[2] Quoted in decision 9 January 2013