Local conservationists are outraged that the Eden chipmill owners are set to buy the national timber business of Boral Limited.
“This will mean that Allied Natural Wood Enterprises (ANWE) will become a near monopoly buyer of every tree cut down in every State Forest of the South Coast, apart from some firewood and a tiny amount of quota sawlogs,” according to the South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA).
Deputy Convener, Harriett Swift, said that ANWE is reported to have paid $64.5 million for the Boral timber interests.
ANWE already has a monopoly on all trees cut down in the Eden Region, since taking the Wood Supply Agreement for sawlogs from the Blue Ridge sawmill recently.
If the sale of the Boral timber business goes ahead, ANWE will own almost all the other South Coast sawmills which currently receive trees from the Forestry Corporation.
“This is not in the public interest and should not be allowed by the Government.
“As almost the only customer for State Forest logs, this will place ANWE in a strong bargaining position, where it can almost name its own price. It will entrench taxpayer subsidies for native forest logging,” she said.
Committee member, Sean Burke said: “ANWE has not lodged an Annual Financial statement to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for the past 2 financial years, so we have no idea of the current state of its finances.”
“However, over the past 18 months ANWE has received many millions of dollars from the NSW and Federal Governments under bushfire recovery and other funding.”
Mr Burke said that ANWE changed its name from Allied Natural Wood Exports to Allied Natural Wood Enterprises in May.
“Now we know exactly why,” he said.