Woodchipping is South Coast’s Adani: 50 year scorecard launched

Forest conservation groups on the far south coast have released a “scorecard”[1] http://serca.org.au/scorecard.html on 50 years of woodchipping.

On 28th November 2019 it will be 50 years since the chipper at the Eden woodchip mill was commissioned.

Deputy Convener of the South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA), Harriett Swift said: “the stain of woodchipping is the south coast’s Adani and 50 years is long enough to prove beyond doubt that woodchipping is an environmental and economic disaster.

Dense young regrowth is a fire hazard and very water hungry. It has also been a disaster for the climate, releasing hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere and preventing the forests’ ability to capture C02.”

“It dwarfs emissions from all other sources within the region.”

Ms Swift said that woodchipping was founded on the myth that it would use “waste wood”.

“But it is not uncommon now to see logging operations which yield 100% pulp, in other words, where every single tree ends up as woodchips” she said.

-       Since the Eden chipmill opened, more than 31 million trees have been cut down and chipped.

-       More than 42 million tonnes of woodchips have been produced, all of them exported.

-       Over the same period, the return to NSW taxpayers has fallen to record low levels, with the “stumpage” price in the Southern Region now just $3.72 a tonne.

-       Millions of wild creatures have been killed or injured, losing their shelter and food, with some pushed to the edge of extinction.

-       Koala numbers have dropped from many hundreds to an estimated 60 individuals.

The industry has been economically marginal or loss making to both the State Government and much of the industry, especially in recent years.

Ms Swift said that the Victorian Government has finally realised that our native forests are not a magic pudding and NSW should follow suit.

“A transition to plantations is a realistic option and this has already begun in the woodchipping industry. It’s high time that a full transition was made,” she said.

13 November 2019