Tuesday, 3 September 2019

CPSU NSW gears up for fight over Forestry sale

CPSU NSW gears up for fight over forestry sale – Sept 2019 (PDF version)

The CPSU NSW will fight any attempt to sell the NSW Forestry Corporation, following last week’s announcement by the NSW Government that it would review the viability of leasing the Corporation’s softwood division.

Currently the Forestry Corporation employs more than 600 people across NSW and generates significant additional value from commercial activity that flows directly from the industry.

Previous studies for government have highlighted the broader risks of privatisation to regional communities that benefit from a profitable, publically owned, sustainable industry.

Despite a pre-election commitment to protect regional public sector jobs, the Berejiklian Government is doing the opposite and putting hundreds of regional jobs on the chopping block.

Nor can workers or communities rely on a commitment the government gets from a buyer to keep regional jobs. When the NSW Goverment sold off the Pillar Corporation in the Illawarra they secured a 10-year job commitment, but two years in and the private owner is already trying to move jobs to Victoria.

And it’s not just jobs and regional communities that will be hurt by any privatisation. Currently Forestry Corp is run with a sustainable approach, that protects our native flora and fauna.

A privately run Forestry Corp won’t have the same commitment to sustainability and safety. If critical native habitat is in the way of it making money, then you can be sure it will come off second-best. If proper bushfire management has too greater impact on the bottom-line, then what corners will a private company cut to squeeze the most out of the plantations?

Any scoping study must take into consideration the real-world effects this will have on NSW’s economy – the job losses, the social and environmental impact and the risk of poorly managed plantations leading to greater bushfire risks.

If nothing else, the state election showed that regional NSW has had a gutful of privatisation, Sydney-centric politicians and their big business mates.

We’re hoping the Liberal-National Government get the message and quickly re-think their privatisation plans. We’ll be doing everything we can to fight it.

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