Forestry and the Environment

In 1999 Sylvatech received approval under the Environmental Assessment Act 1982 (NT) to plant 5200 ha of Acacia mangium.

In the same year the Australian Plantation Group and Tiwi Land Council received approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth) for a further 26,000 ha of hardwood plantations on Melville Island. At that time, this was the only forestry project in Australia to be assessed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. There were 11 ‘Conditions of Approval’ which had to be addressed and included site selection, monitoring for any offsite impacts, control of Acacia mangium wildings and threatened species monitoring and ecological studies.

In 2008 a further twenty four new ‘Conditions of Approval’ were issued to Great Southern by the Minister following notification of clearing incursions by Great Southern and Sylvatech into buffer zones established around rainforest.

Great Southern carried out preliminary identifications of incursions into buffer zones associated with rainforest habitats, totalling an area of 571 hectares. Following the collapse of Great Southern in 2009, Tiwi Plantations Corporation Pty Ltd was determined to continue the work that was required and to rehabilitate the incursions as part of ongoing operations.

The Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act ‘Conditions of Approval’ for the Tiwi Islands Forestry Project were reviewed in the light of the plantation harvest by the Australian Government Department of the Environment and reissued to Tiwi Plantations Corporation as the new approval holder in March 2015.

The Environmental Management Plan required under the new conditions was approved by Australian Government Department of the Environment in June 2015. The plan makes provision to rehabilitate the areas within buffer zones that were identified as incursions by the previous approval holder.

Prior to the approval of the new Environmental Management Plan, Tiwi Plantations Corporation continued to maintain many of the stated ‘Conditions of Approval’ as the previous approval holder was in liquidation.

On 8 October 2012, Tiwi Plantations Corporation entered into an agreement with Ezion Offshore Logistics Hub (Tiwi) Pty Ltd for the construction of the floating pontoon wharf for the export of Tiwi woodchips and other forest products.

In relation to woodchip export, confirmation was received from the Australian Government Minister for the Environment in May 2015 that "activities undertaken to date to facilitate export of woodchips do not represent a contravention of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act”. The Australian Government Department of the Environment confirmed in May 2015 that the woodchip storage depot at Port Melville did not need to obtain further approval.

Tiwi Plantations Corporation Pty Ltd has successfully achieved the status “FSC Controlled Wood” certification for Tiwi woodchip. The FSC Principles & Criteria describe the essential elements or rules of environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management.

Looking after Tiwi environment, looking after Tiwi jobs