The Tiwi forestry project has reached an historic moment with the first shipment of woodchips set to leave Port Melville this week.
The Daio Papyrus docked at the port on Monday and is in the process of being loaded with around 40,000 green metric tonnes of Tiwi woodchip, bound for Japan.
Traditional owners were among those who gathered at the port yesterday to mark the occasion.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, congratulated the traditional owners who developed the forestry industry on the island, as well as the Tiwi Land Council and Tiwi Plantations Corporation.
“The organisations and people that have been part of the woodchip enterprise have turned 30,000 hectares of Acacia plantation into a valuable source of training, jobs and revenue for the local community,” Minister Scullion said.
“To now watch a real product leaving the port is a great satisfaction for everyone involved and I congratulate them on this achievement.
“This enterprise provides ongoing and meaningful employment, and is a great example of local people determined to grow and sustain a local economy.
“It also shows the great potential of how northern Australian communities can benefit from the business opportunities of the north.”
Following the loading and departure of Daio Papyrus, a second shipment is expected to leave in January 2016, and further shipments are planned for every two months thereafter.
“In 2014 I was pleased to be able approve a grant of $6.04 million through the Aboriginals Benefit Account to purchase wood chip harvesting and ship loading equipment as well as support ongoing employment through the plantation forestry.”
“This Government has supported the Tiwi Plantations Corporation commence operations and it is great that traditional owners have been able to pursue commercial development on their own lands with great employment outcomes for the local community.
Tiwi leaders negotiated and signed a memorandum of understanding with Mitsui, which will on-sell the woodchips to customers in Japan in February 2016. They also signed a five-year sales and purchase agreement in March 2015.
Download media release:
2015-11-26 MR – SCULLION – Woodchips.pdf