Warning on Ta Ann practices
A MALAYSIAN parliamentarian has visited Tasmania's native forests with a warning over timber company Ta Ann's business operations in his home country.
Baru Bian from the Justice Party in Sarawak, Malaysia, was in Hobart yesterday speaking about Ta Ann and a subsidiary company, Gran Perfect.
Ta Ann owns 30 per cent of shares in Gran Perfect, which is facing court action in Malaysia over illegal logging.
Mr Bian said he was shocked the company was operating in Tasmania's native forests.
"You need to scrutinise it in the light of what is happening in Malaysia. I'm very surprised Ta Ann can come in to Tasmania," he said.
"When they were saying it was cheaper to buy here, I thought there was definitely something interesting in it."
Senator Bob Brown said Ta Ann was buying Tasmanian native timber at a discounted rate, with government-owned Forestry Tasmania subsidising the price.
"I've got no doubt that Ta Ann were brought to Tasmania in the first place as a trojan horse to get the woodchip industry into these beautiful native forests in Tasmania. So it was simply a set-up to justify the woodchipping," he said.
"Ta Ann should never have been allowed in Tasmania's native forests, Senator Brown said.Ta Ann Tasmania hit back at the claim that it was buying wood at a reduced price.
"Our business is based on low-quality, pulpwood-grade logs which are otherwise made into woodchips and we pay a premium," said Ta Ann director David Ridley.
"We use low quality logs to make high quality veneer for the international market."
Mr Ridley said Ta Ann employed 160 people and anticipated putting $45 million into the Tasmanian economy this year.
Mr Ridley would not comment about the claims regarding court action in Malaysia because he did not know the specifics of the case, he said.