Monday, July 27, 2015

SA Labor hands forest to US timber company

Ned K.
(Above: SA Forestry workers protesting the earlier CCH forward rotation sale).
While city newspapers and online news focussed this week on the meeting of Premiers and Prime Minister, newspapers in the South East of SA carried a lead story on the privatisation by the state government of the Limestone Coast's Forestry SA operations to foreign owned interests.

OneFortyOne Plantations is a consortium managed by US based private timber investment company The Campbell Group.

Sixty workers will lose their jobs with Forestry SA.  They will be offered jobs with the privatised owner but with no job guarantee after 30 June 2018.

The privatisation announcement was made without any formal consultation with the timber workers' union, CFMEU . 

Brad Coates from the union is reported in The Border Watch to say workers are concerned not only about their job security. They are also concerned that the state government had handed over decades of timber management intellectual property for basically nothing.

He said union reps had just completed enterprise bargaining negotiations with Forestry SA and nothing was said about the shock announcement this week about the privatisation.

In 2012, the State Government sold up to three forward rotations of timber harvests in the south-east to Carter Holt Harvey (CCH) for 105 years, getting an up-front payment of $670 million.

As part of the 2012 deal, ForestrySA was to manage the south-east plantations for five years until late 2017 and possibly beyond.

The following year, Linda Sewell, a top CCH executive moved to OneFortyOne Plantations as chief executive.

This latest privatisation by stealth by the Labor Government in SA comes at a time when the Labor Party is moving further away from unions under the guise of becoming more inclusive and inviting for all Australians "in the national interest".

Does privatisation of more assets, especially in the more vulnerable regional areas of the nation, add or detract from the national interest? 

With the privatisation of timber workers jobs and forestry assets, where will the profits from the business end up under the ownership of OneFort One Plantations? 

How will selling intellectual property rights to a multinational forestry company benefit 'the national interest'?

No comments:

Post a Comment