Tiwi Islands – Northern Territory

Senate Inquiry Report – Tiwi Forestry – 29 October 2009

Posted by tiwiccbb on October 30, 2009

Senate Inquiry Report – Tiwi Forestry 29 October 2009


link below to hearings on Tiwi Islands, Darwin and Canberra




Tiwi timber plantation in dire straits

By Gina Marich

A Senate Committee has tabled a grim assessment of the commercial forestry plantation on the Tiwi Islands.

The acacia plantation takes up almost 30,000 hectares and was facing criticism long before the collapse in May of the corporate partner in the project, Great Southern Limited.

Earlier this month, the Tiwi Land Council took over the plantation.

It was hoped the trees would return almost $700,000 annually to traditional owners.

But the Senate inquiry has found the plantation will be completely unprofitable without a massive injection of cash.

The inquiry found major hurdles to selling any of the timber, including the high costs of maintaining the plantation, a need for major infrastructure before harvesting can start and problems with the trees themselves, which are not growing properly.

The Green’s spokeswoman on Indigenous affairs, Rachel Siewert, says the scheme was badly planned.

“We are not convinced that this project is sustainable,” she said.

“We are very concerned that it will not provide the returns that were hoped for when this project first started.

“And given the fact that the proponents of the project in the first place have gone into receivership and the administrators say that the project is unviable, I think that raises very major concerns about the future of that project.”


2 Responses to “Senate Inquiry Report – Tiwi Forestry – 29 October 2009”

  1. IVI said

    Perhaps it’s not too late to bring in a Chinese entrepreneur, ie, if no Australian company sees this as a viable venture in which to invest?

    A Chinese investor might want to pay less, ie, after investing time & effort to make harvesting possible, but – as it is now – there is no one else.

    So, maybe it’s time to cut losses…?

  2. IVI said

    Another (possibly, more acceptable) option is to do something LESS mono-cultural with the land.

    Although done for the purpose of creating a long-term rainforest habitat for orphaned orangatans, the work by Willie Smits – summarised in a free 20-minute video, on TED.com – may be worth cloning or tailoring to the Tiwi Islands & trialing.

    Here’s a link to Willie Smits’ talk at the TED (Technology/Entertainment/Design) conference:

    . http://www.TED.com/talks/lang/eng/willie_smits_restores_a_rainforest.html

    Perhaps a spin-off of Smits’ design can be used to create a livable nature reserve, that also helps to replenish the World’s supply of some nearly extinct species of animal(s), while also providing employment opportunities for the Tiwi Islanders, who want to stay & help make it happen.

    Apparently, Willie Smits’ small dot on Bornio has attracted eco-tourists & others (& they would be paying) to visit & learn about – or at least see – the results of his Borneo teams’ work.

    Rather than spending money – after the Forestry Project’s fallover – to try to work out what went wrong, people should be looking at what might be able to go RIGHT, for a change, such as a spin-off of Willie Smits’ work on the Tiwi Island (and/or elsewhere in AU).

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