Public assets sell-off finds hitch

THE downturn in the building and construction sector has massively slashed the bottom line of Forestry Plantations Queensland (FPQ), just as it is prepared for sale.

In its annual report, the State Government-owned corporation reported a $3.5 million operating surplus for 2008/09 - down from $85.5 million in 2007/08.

The Bligh Government is currently crunching the numbers prior to the sale of FPQ, which is expected to be the first cab off the rank in a controversial $15 billion sell-off of public assets.

FPQ manages more than 211,000ha of plantation lands, most of which bear softwoods, and supplies three-quarters of log timber used each year by Queensland's plantation timber industry.

FPQ chief plantation forestry officer Dr Warren Hoey said in the report, tabled in state parliament yesterday, he had forecast a “moderation” in timber sales as the building and construction industry slowed.



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