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The Nippon Paper owned Eden woodchip mill has again blocked efforts by a far south coast conservationist to obtain the Forestry Corporation contract to supply logs for woodchips.

The latest move by South East Fibre Exports (SEFE) means that the Eden woodchip contract is the only Wood Supply Agreement in the State which remains secret, for the time being at least[1]. All the others are public documents available on the Forestry Corporation website.

Harriett Swift, who is convener of the Chipstop campaign and Deputy Convenor of the South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA), first applied under the Government Information (Public Access) Act more than 18 months ago for details of contracts to supply native forest logs from public forests for woodchipping by South East Fibre Exports (SEFE).
She has been blocked at every point in the process by SEFE which has rights as a “third party,” even though the Forestry Corporation has agreed to release it.

“At every stage in the review process my right to have the document has been reaffirmed,” Ms Swift said.

“I have now been advised that the Information and Privacy Commission has completed an external review and it, too has reaffirmed my right to have the document.”

“However, I understand that SEFE will now appeal to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NACT) and I must wait again while they do that. “

“I have won the right to this information three times now, but I still cannot get it because the woodchippers object,” she said.
Ms Swift said that she is very frustrated by this most recent stonewalling by the woodchipping industry.

“These are publicly owned forests and the public has a right to know what commitments this Government owned agency has made to woodchippers on their behalf.”
Official advice to Ms Swift says that SEFE has claimed: "to allow the release of confidential information to any direct or indirect competitor for resource, 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]
“As we all know, there are no competitors with SEFE for these logs,” Ms Swift said.

“SEFE is claiming that the truth about wood supply commitments from native forests owned by the people of NSW will put them out of business.”  
“If the truth will put them out of business, well, the sooner the better, I say,” Ms Swift said.
2 June 2014

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