150303 Forestry-Background_Page_1Logging in the state forests has cost NSW more than $43 million over the past three years – money that would be better spent promoting tourism in the regions, according to the Greens.

Each hectare felled costs taxpayers $495, with the losses in 2013-14 alone reaching almost $12 million, the Greens said, citing Forestry Corporation figures.

By contrast, the state’s small plantation estate generates a profit of $5387 per hectare – and $114.4 million over the past three years – underscoring the need for the corporation to shift its focus, Greens forestry spokesman David Shoebridge said.

For its part, the Forestry Corporation said the figures are distorted because as a land manager, it incurs costs for the entire estate for fire-fighting, weed control and road maintenance regardless of the amount harvested.

“The cost of managing these two million hectares is almost wholly recouped by the revenue raised from timber harvesting and the shortfall of around $7-8 per hectare, or 50 cents per house block, is fully offset by revenue from harvesting softwood plantations,” a spokeswoman said.

By contrast, the National Parks and Wildlife Service receives about $350 million in state funding a year for its seven million hectares, she said.

“It’s an environmental and economic basket case,” Mr Shoebridge said. “These are two million hectares of precious public forests that are being managed for a declining, loss-making logging industry.”

See the full report in the Sydney Morning Herald.