Tasmanian Premier says forest estate sale is not privatisation of public land

Premier Will Hodgman has defended a recent public hardwood plantation sale, affirming it was a good deal and not a step towards privatisation.

The sale was a key issue in Parliament on Thursday with Labor unsuccessfully moving a motion in the early evening to learn more about the details surrounding the sale.

Opposition resources spokesman David Llewellyn maintained that the government could have got more than $60 million for the 29,000-hectare sale.

“The Liberals cannot dispute the sale price is significantly less than the cost of planting the trees in the first place,” he said.

“The figure is also significantly less than a comparable sale deal struck by the receivers of Gunns in 2014.”

Earlier in the day under questioning from the Greens, Mr Hodgman said pre-sale advice based on similar sales in Tasmania and Australia put the price between $1500 and $2000 per hectare.

“The result we have achieved is clearly at the upper end of that,” he said.

“Sustainable Timber Tasmania is retaining around 20,000 hectares of high-value hardwood plantations which will produce high-quality sawlogs.

“STT still holds plantations of very significant value, as well as getting $60 million now to pay off debt.”

Greens leader Cassy O’Connor maintained that the sale, which involved a 99-lease on the land, was privatisation of a public asset.

"Liberals selling the farm and trying to mislead Tasmanians in the process," she said.

"29,000 hectares of land locked up for the exclusive use of a private company for 99 years is a significant loss of a public asset and it is privatization."