Timber industry in the balance

THE future of the timber industry in the Clarence Valley is dependent on the election of a Coalition government at the State election, claims one of the Valley's main timber men.

A leading figure in the industry, Spiro Notaras, said the industry's future was on a knife edge, with both his own company, J Notaras and Sons, and other major players considering their future in the game.

Mr Notaras said the Nationals were the only party who had policies that could keep the timber industry viable in the Clarence.

“The way we have been treated by the State Government – mainly the bureaucrats – it just can't go on,” Mr Notaras said.

“I've had a talk with (independent candidate) Richie Williamson and I've told him I can't support him.

“It looks like there's going to be a change of government and we need to have someone in there from the Coalition.”

He said the local industry needed more certainty of timber supply and that there had been problems in this area that he did not want to reveal.

Mr Notaras said people should not confuse the situation locally with the old-growth forests in Tasmania.

“There's no old-growth forest here, they have all been locked up,” he said.

“Everything here is re-growth. A lot of the timber around here is third or fourth generation regrowth.”

It annoys him that so much of the timber in the region is locked up in national parks.

“In the almost 60 years since I have been in the industry the forests have never looked so healthy,” he said

Mr Notaras also claimed that modern logging practices amounted to management of forest resources and there would never be a return to the clear-felling that occurred during the last century.

“The only time you see clear felling of trees now is in plantations,” he said.

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