23 September 2021

'Exciting' new Timber Optimisation Hub approved for Eden despite community concerns

| Albert McKnight
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The Eden Woodchip Mill on the southern shores of Twofold Bay. Photo: Allied Natural Wood Exports.

The Eden Woodchip Mill on the southern shores of Twofold Bay, pictured in 2018. Photo: Allied Natural Wood Exports.

A new Timber Optimisation Hub has been approved to be built near Eden and while it has been hailed as an “exciting” development for the region, its critics believe it contrasts with efforts to combat climate change

The development application was approved by Bega Valley Shire Council on Tuesday (14 September) with only three councillors voting against the proposal.

Councillor Robyn Bain described the move as “such a positive thing for our region” and she hoped the forestry industry would grow in the area.

“It really is about the future of our region,” she said.

“I think it’s totally exciting.”

Allied Natural Wood Exports (ANWE) had successfully applied for the DA to build a log sorter, sawmill, pallet plant and briquette plant as well as to repurpose the existing water treatment thickener tank to store storm water at Edrom Road, south of Eden.

During the meeting, The Greens’ Councillor Cathy Griff said more logging in the region was incompatible with council’s recognition of the climate change crisis.

READ ALSO ‘It’s a ticking time bomb’ – calls for logging near towns to cease to reduce fire risk

She said the decision should be deferred, partly for assurances the project would not mean an increase to atmospheric carbon.

Cr Griff said clear advice written by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) one year ago and submitted as material by an objector to the DA, advised there should be a complete stop to harvesting from a burnt forest.

Much of the Bega Valley’s forests had been damaged in the Black Summer Bushfires of 2019- 2020.

Councillor Jo Dodds said she had watched her community go through the beginning of the “horrors” of global warming so could not support anything that increased or prolonged the risk of it.

After the meeting, Cr Griff said the overriding problem was council had been told the DA was not about any extra timber being taken from the forests, just a change of purpose, focusing on the pallets and briquettes.

But she said critics did not accept the “limited view” of referring to the supply change.

“Unless you question those limited views you’re not going to be able to get on the front foot like WA and Victoria have done by ceasing logging,” she said.

Public submissions raised concerns about the broader environmental impacts of the proposal, including that the environmental impacts of harvesting the region’s native forests to supply timber to the hub needed to be addressed.

But council’s staff had recommended councillors approve the hub.

“The development does not seek to alter the timber processing capacity of the site, and timber harvesting does not form part of this development application,” the report stated.

Forestry operations in state forests must obtain approval from the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Lands and Forestry.

READ ALSO Tantawangalo logging – “People don’t realise this is going on”

ANWE told council the development would use already-harvested timber, some of which would be repurposed to the new uses of pallets and briquettes.

Council staff said the site, which is owned by South East Fibre Exports and operated by ANWE, was developed to support the operation of the wood chip mill which currently processes up to 650,000 tonnes of timber each year.

“As the proposal would be centrally located within the existing wood chip mill and does not seek to increase the volume of timber processed at the site each year, the environmental impacts of the Timber Optimisation Hub are not expected to be significant,” they said.

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Murray Webster5:24 pm 27 Sep 21

I was at Moruya airport amd noticed a new deck. They had used Merbau decking from rainforest logging in South East Asia. Also, Douglass Fir/Oregon from the north west coast of North America. And, steel posts/concrete. These are very poor choices from an environmental perspective.

Have a look at satellite images online and see how much native forest there is surrounding the airport and on the south coast generally. There are fine hardwoods that a better for building a deck than any of the options used.

When I look for plans for the future of our native eucalypt forests by environmental activists, there doesn’t seem to be much apart from stopping human involvement. But, humnans, through First Nations Peoples have been actively caring-for-country using cultural burning and hunting, for 60 000 years. It is not acceptable to ignore this history – it is a continuation of “terra nullius” declared by European invaders in 1770. I cannot believe that well-meaning, educated people could intentionally continue with this lie. So, how are we going to care for our forests? We need access to do low-intensity/cultural burns and monitor wildlife, and we also want sustainable timber.

Surely we can find a way to use the value of our native hardwoods to assist with caring-for-country. We don’t have to follow the typically human tactics of dividing into two sides and try to destroy the other.

Here are some examples of what can happen when people from apparently different sides work together:

“They Overcame Mutual Loathing, and Saved a Town. Environmentalists and loggers thought they had nothing in common, until they started talking:


Or if that link is behind a paywall: https://www.opb.org/article/2020/10/26/what-happens-when-loggers-and-environmentalists-work-together/


I believe the DA should be passed as this project would be great for the industry. And more local jobs.

Bega Valley Shire Council has limited rates income!
Large areas of National Parks (NEVER logged) and massive areas of Forestry…Neither pay rates!
National Parks take up some of the prime rateable land (particularly the coastal/beachfront regions)
Our small number of ratepayers (many who are on limited incomes) have to pay for large areas producing no rates.
Many accept this…as we love our environment!

As a ratepayer I object to:
1. The use of our BVSC for political purposes
2. The ongoing legal costs ratepayers are responsible for others political ideology
3. Disruption of BVSC’s team of Engineers to provide DA’s in normal and expected timeframes…
Especially given a serious lack of accommodation in the region.

Forestry Industries provide much needed jobs.
Why is there a problem with diversifying use of resources.
This could have environmental benefits!
It’s time to support a sustainable industry!


The local Timber Industry goes back generations.
Those who work in Forestry know the bush!

I witnessed their competency firsthand throughout the 2019/20 fires!
Forestry workers…worked tirelessly day and night using their own machinery (in other regions too) to save homes, towns and the bush they loved!
They worked with other organisations, including the RFS, emergency services, ADF, etc…to keep us safe.
They did not discriminate!

Pity help us if they aren’t here to manage the next Firestorm…
We don’t need to add…more fuel for the next fire!

In the early 1800’s a huge flood came down the Bega river and river flats…It took most of the existing Township and houses down the river…out to sea!
The stories are…some were saved by local Aboriginal in bark canoes!
The surviving white population didn’t rant and blame!
They rebuilt their town and houses further up the hill…away from the river!

People here desperately need homes and jobs!

Philip in Narooma8:07 am 26 Sep 21

Hear Hear!!

One can only hope that a rational scientific discussion will trump emotionalism and taxpayer funded misinformation.

There are many internationally regarded forestry scientists in Australia whose views on native forest resource use are NEVER reported and have a diametrically opposite view to the Professor of Environment and society at ANU!!

A bit premature methinks….

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