Media Releases - 01 December 2023

NSW Forestry Corporation reports $15 million loss, taxpayers to foot the bill

The release of the Forestry Corporation of NSW 2022-23 annual report reveals staggering losses of $15 million for its native forestry operations. This immense shortfall will be picked up by taxpayers, despite significant support for an end to native forest logging in the state.

The native forest logging industry in NSW is also the subject of significant community opposition. A recent survey by Australia Institute found that seven in 10 Australians (69%) support extending native forest logging bans to NSW and Tasmania. Yet the NSW public is now being asked to foot the $15 million bill to cover Forestry Corporation’s massive deficit—and not for the first time. They suffered a $9 million loss in 2021-22 and a $20 million loss in 2020-21.

State government industrial native forest logging is responsible for the ongoing destruction of critical habitat for threatened species in NSW native forests, including in areas that are still recovering from the catastrophic impacts of the Black Summer Bushfires. Sadly, in NSW much of this vital habitat is logged in order to be turned into low-value products, such as woodchips, that are exported to make cardboard and toilet paper.

Furthermore, Forestry Corporation is a rogue actor with an extensive history of breaching environmental regulations in native forests across the state.

Instead of propping up an increasingly untenable industry with taxpayer funds, NSW should be forging a just transition out of native forest logging, much like Victoria and Western Australia, where state governments have committed to ending the destructive practice by 2024. This includes ongoing government support for those employed by the industry to transition into work that is sustainable in the long term.

Victoria Jack, NSW Campaign Manager for the Wilderness Society, said, “The scientific evidence is clear: industrial logging of native forests is a pathway to more destructive bushfires, a worsening biodiversity crisis and wildlife extinctions.

“Public support for continuing native forest logging is extremely low, yet taxpayers are being forced to cough up millions of dollars to prop up a loss-making industry that is logging threatened species habitat in a biodiversity crisis.

“Not only is it destructive from an environmental perspective, it’s damaging the state’s finances in a cost of living crisis, when this money could be far better spent elsewhere.”