Inquiry ignores timber supply crisis

THE North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) has slammed a House of Representatives inquiry into the Australian forestry industry.

NEFA spokesman Dailan Pugh said the inquiry - Seeing The Forest Through The Trees, released last week - refused to consider the evidence NEFA presented regarding the current timber supply crisis due to the over-commitment of wood from north-east NSW's public forests.

"Ever since new wood supply agreements were given to sawmillers in 2004, Forests NSW has not been able to supply the committed volumes," he said.

"These agreements have already cost taxpayers millions of dollars to buy back committed volumes and to compensate timber companies for failure to supply."

Urbenville Timber managing director Adrian Joseph said the problem is with Forestry NSW not being pro-active in replanting areas for plantation to supply existing contract commitments.

"Now they have to waste a lot of money compensating companies for undersupply," he said.

Mr Pugh said Forests NSW had been over-logging plantations, cutting immature trees, increasing logging intensities, logging stream buffers and logging trees and areas required to be retained for threatened species in an effort to meet shortfalls.

Mr Joseph buys his logs from private landholders and was not aware Forests NSW may be logging sensitive areas, but agreed there were shortfalls.

"The State Government should have done more to protect the industry ... and now it is coming back to bite them," he said.