Three million pine seedlings ready to plant
THREE million pine seedlings will be planted in forests at Bathurst, Orange, Oberon and Lithgow beginning this week, says Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson.
“These seedlings are part of a Forests New South Wales planting operation that will see approximately nine million seedlings across 7500 hectares around the state,” she says.
“The re-establishment process is vital to the sustainability of the Central West softwood forestry industry, which employs approximately 2000 people in full-time or equivalent jobs across the forest management and timber processing sectors.
“Forests NSW manages about 235,000 hectares of state-owned planted forest across NSW, of which almost 74,000 hectares lies within the Macquarie region.
“The planting of 2700 hectares of pine in the Macquarie region is the culmination of 12 months’ hard work preparing land and growing seedlings.
“The entire planting program is contracted out to many specialised small businesses in the Central West to ensure planting can be completed in the tight timeframe.”
Ms Hodgkinson says most of the seedlings being planted are genetically improved containerised stock, which have been sourced from Forests NSW nursery at Tumut.
“The benefit of containerised stock is that if conditions are not right, the seedlings can be held until the optimal time to plant, and even held over to the following year’s planting season if necessary,” she says.
“The Macquarie region supplies more than a million tonnes of timber to NSW processors in Bathurst, Oberon and Tumut each year.
“Approximately $800 million is estimated to be invested in processing of timber in the Macquarie region,” Ms Hodgkinson says.
Meanwhile, the State Government is pushing ahead with corporatization of Forests NSW, a decision which the Australian Workers Union says will cause serious regional socio-economic and ecological problems.
The NSW Public Service Association (PSA) has also condemned the move, saying it could cost up to 600 regional jobs and remove millions of dollars from local economies each year.
The PSA also warns that corporatization is the forerunner to privatisation.