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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 4 January 2008
Win win win: How Iemma can book $1B, save the environment and avoid power privatisation political meltdown in NSW
Mood:  special
Topic: nsw govt
This view of Chipstop group below to Garnaut Inquiry is bound to gain traction if only for group survival instinct:
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 10:16 AM
Subject: [chipstop] “End woodchipping to stop climate change,” say conservationists

“End woodchipping to stop climate change,” say conservationists
Conservationists are asking the new federal Government to stop native forest woodchipping as a way to avert climate change.
In a submission to the Garnaut Review, the Chipstop group has argued that forests are worth more as carbon sinks than they are as woodchips.
Spokesperson, Ms Harriett Swift says that now that Australia has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, there is potential for native forests to be protected as carbon offsets, as permitted under Article 3.4.
“Australia subsidises the protection of native forests in South East Asia while continuing to destroy its own forests.”
“In international forums such as the recent Bali conference, Australia will have far greater credibility if it protects its own native forests,” she says.
In SE NSW, the vast majority of trees logged end up as woodchips. In the Eden region, for example, approximately 95% of timber felled is woodchipped. 
“As paper products, these have a life of two to three years.”
“Even manufactured wood products are mostly low value, short lived items such as pallets, which usually end up as landfill or are chipped as mulch within a very few years,” she says.
Forest destruction has been estimated to release hundreds of tonnes of CO2 equivalent into the atmosphere for every hectare logged, depending on the forest type.
“In addition, trucks delivering loads to the mill travel 14.5 million kilometres per year, generating a further 2 million tonnes of CO2 per year.”
“To make matters worse, in both NSW and Victoria, the native forest woodchipping industry is subsidised.”
“NSW revenue from pulpwood royalties is about $3.5 million less than the cost to Forests NSW of running its woodchipping operations.”
“Last year, VicForests returned a $17,000 loss to Victoria for the logging of native forests.”
“Other costs to the community from woodchipping include the loss of water quality and quantity, degradation of topsoils, damage to roads and other infrastructure. In addition, it is impossible to quantify the loss of wildlife and habitat.”
“In these circumstances, we believe it is reckless and absurd to continue native forest woodchipping, when forests are worth so much more as carbon sinks.”
“We also reject burning native forest wood to generate power for the same reasons,” Ms Swift said.
3 January 2008
02 64923267, 0414908997


Between 2,500 and 3,000 trees from SE NSW and East Gippsland are cut down every working day to supply the Eden chipmill
CHIPSTOP campaign against woodchipping the SE forests, 02-64923134, PO Box 797 Bega NSW 2550 Australia, http://www.chipstop.forests.org.au
Notice similarly in the piece by the very brown Michael Costa about the big ticket item of sell off of $15B public electricity assets to his reference to the big unions submission to the Owen Inquiry regarding climate and power generation (and this is very significant as you will see):
The unions' scare campaign is hypocritical, because it's their own plans for the power industry that would drive up prices. In their submission to the Owen inquiry Unions NSW called for the phasing out of coal and gas-fired generation in favour of solar and wind. Given the high cost of renewable energy compared with existing plants, the unions' plans guarantee immediate higher prices.
[bold added]
in  Unions' electricity reforms just scare campaign 3rd January 2008 Costa says the govt needs $2-$3 billion revenue fast as follows:

The Australian energy market is already highly competitive, and many customers of public utilities already choose private retailers.

The Government is not in a position to make the $2 billion-$3 billion investment to meet this competition without cutting back spending elsewhere.

Increasing private investment in the electricity sector is the best way to protect the jobs of existing employees and create new jobs as expansion and investment take place, while enabling the Government to get on with its core service delivery priorities.

[bold added]

But Costa is wrong. Power is an essential service with a natural monopoly and not suitable for privatisation if the public want to keep a sovereign govt that is not a wholly owned subsidiary of ruthless private corporations. Most people intuitively understand this.

This is why Carr failed in 1997 at his own ALP conference. But the lust of a Premier for a bucket of money is well understood hence we wrote back in February 2003 in a prescient way (or 4 years premature depending on how you look at it):

21/2/03 Sale of NSW electricity assets by NSW ALP after 2003 election?

Yet the Iemma Govt can go a long way to finding the money in other places, and none better than the revenue currently being used to crank the financial viability of the native forest woodchipping industry. [And see postscript below re tollway subsidy in the Herald today.] Yes, that's right - the public plantation estate - which is simply an agricultural crop for most intents and purposes now. There is no real reason to keep it in public ownership provided there are decent and sensible environmental safeguards, of equal or better nature to farming generally. There is the added dimension of fire suppression for public safety but that's well within the wit of the private sector if only to protect their own asset. More on this very substantial asset here:

17/2/2000 ...Plantation based economics of the current logging industry in NSW

And here is a summary of the 'pre privatisation' policy setting of this ALP Govt to date from 2005, namely corporatisation:

18/2/05... latest govt position on asset realization, break up of NSW Forestry dodgy $ diversions from public plantations

We have been proposing the asset realization of the $1Billion public plantation estate for about 3 years now. The Green Party are against it for public ownership ideological reasons. Respected resource economist Judith Adjani (Clark) is against it for similar arguments of public sector govt capacity to reform manufacturing jobs and profits in the wood industry out of native forests. But they are both wrong in our humble view. How so?

One must appreciate the role of  land baron political economics not simply clinical efficiencies of resource/manufacturing economics, because we don't live in such a rational world free of biased access or systemic bureaucratic corruption of the public estate.

The plantations which are profitable and dominate wood volumes are cranking the native forest  sector which is loss making for clearance of same for more defacto and then inevitably official plantation and then privatised plantation. The public are being denied their plantation revenue profits today off public land, which revenue is (corruptly) diverted to the private native forest interests(truck owners, logging contractors, chipmill owners, Japanese corporations etc) and to justify wages of NSW Forestry bureaucrats. A real bootstraps financial exercise off the public natural estate helping to grow the spread of the essentially private plantation sector.

As the ex CEO of the huge dominating CSR at the Adjani/Clark book launch (Gleebooks) late 2007 pointed out politely,  Adjani doesn't appreciate the land baron politics of this situation in native forest logging. But we do after 15 years of tackling the criminal sector: It's about privatising with creeping conversion the higher rainfall state forest areas over decades into higher profitability far more economically efficient treefarm estate,  using public's own plantation revenue to destroy their remaining natural forest estate. This way they effectively get the public land and rainfall free, rather than pay for private tree farm development on existing private cleared land.

It's very cute and very corrupt promoted with truckloads of bogus science.

It's not about 'existing plantation versus native forest' models of wood production or differential product lines to market. The native forest loggers (union and industry) already agree with Adjani/Clark's well worn thesis that plantations are better for jobs, wood production volumes and profits. Only they don't want to switch over, they want all native forest cleared to treefarm, in a huge conversion project, slowly steadily over a decade or two. It's that big and cynical and greedy.

If we as the public and ethical government don't cut off the woodchipper's financial crank of loss making native forests (in their hands) they will all be converted to private plantation by a future govt and sold as inappropriate to the public sector. You mark my words. The only way to stop this dynamic responsibly is to remove the revenue of the public plantations from the corrupt NSW forestry agency in collusion with this conversion process. That is to effectively bankrupt NSW State Forestry and fold native forests into national parks as water, ecosystem and tourism asset, and leave the loggers to do their private tree farming within an environmentally decent regulatory framework on their own land just like other agriculture. In this respect tree farming is just like wheat.

The power industry privatisation political meltdown can similarly be avoided, of huge importance to the unions, the Greens and the public by providing crucial revenue to begin that reform process in clean green energy production. Costa's brown endless consumption growth vision for the energy sector must be rejected as ecologically insane. Rather the value of the plantations built up on the public estate over decades is realised but also hypothecated into a sustainable future for NSW. Yes it does mean loss of some public control of plantations. But it's worth it. More than that. It's the right thing for immediate damage control beyond academic economic theories of idealistic Adjani (I fully concede) this last 15 years to actually stop massive vandalism across South East Australia. Adjani's agenda for the 'best profile for reform of the manufacturing sector' within a public sector paradigm in the age of a high employment mining boom is not the priority for the environment. It's to stop such as this as soon as humanly possible to keep our carbon store, stop the systemic industry drying out of forests leading to intense bushfire and conservation generally:



 ....in Tasmania

 ....in South East NSW

Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 6:57 PM
Subject: [chipstop] Maiden voyage breaks record

From Eden Magnet today:
03 January 2008 - 10:09AM

Maiden voyage breaks record

Bulk woodchip carrier, Silver Pegasus safely completed her maiden voyage to Eden on Thursday, December 27 after leaving the Ohshima shipping yard in Japan on December 14, 2007.
Arriving with a crew of 21, the 210-meter vessel, with a gross registered tonnage of 43,621 has the latest in navigation and cargo equipment on board.
The cost of the round trip from Japan to Australia is said to be more than $1.2 million.
Managing director of SEFE, Toshihiro Eguchi and his family, along with representatives from SVITZER and Twofold Bay harbour pilot Jo Clark, were invited to inspect the ship and witness the presentation of a commemorative plaque to master captain, Sin Sang Tae.
Discussing the year's sales, corporate affairs manager of South East Fibre Exports, Vince Phillips said the Silver Pegasus' shipment would break sales records.
"The load of about 46,000 ton will take us to another record sale,” Mr Phillips said.
"I think we have done a total of a million and sixty thousand for the 2007 calendar year... beating last year’s sales record by about ten thousand ton," Mr Phillips said.
Mr Phillips said that this year's record export volume was an unexpected result given wet weather during the year but production was boosted in volume by access to bushfire affected timber.
The planned export of plantation pine woodchips in coming years means SEFE expects to maintain these levels.
The Silver Pegasus is purpose built and has six holds each with a 10 tonne capacity.
A 9195-kilowatt engine gives her about 12 and a half thousand-horse power and a top speed of 14.2 knots.
Owned by NYK, an international shipping company, Silver Pegasus will be charted by South East Fibre Export to transport wood chip to the port of Muroran in Japan.


Between 2,500 and 3,000 trees from SE NSW and East Gippsland are cut down every working day to supply the Eden chipmill
CHIPSTOP campaign against woodchipping the SE forests, 02-64923134, PO Box 797 Bega NSW 2550 Australia, http://www.chipstop.forests.org.au

Postscript #1 4th Jan 2008

It appears the Sydney Morning Herald has identified another many hundreds of million$ that can or should have been saved for critical infrastructure investment as reported here:

Toll bribe will cost $860m CASHBACK, the road toll subsidy on the M4 and M5 motorways, could be the most expensive broken election promise in NSW history. By the time the subsidy expires on the M4 in 2010, the total bill is forecast to have climbed to about $860 million.

And their cartoon correctly identifies the very dark shade of brown of Treasurer Costa in love with his endless growth economics much like John Howard ex PM:

Friday, January 4, 2008

Friday, January 4, 2008
Illustration: Alan Moir

Posted by editor at 1:38 PM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 5 January 2008 8:59 AM EADT

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