Con­trac­tors need longer con­tracts – Aussie log­ger

New Zealand Logger - - Nzif 2018 -

AN AUS­TRALIAN LOG­GER BE­LIEVES THE IN­DUS­TRY IN HIS COUN­TRY IS SUF­FER­ING through a lack of long-term con­tracts be­ing of­fered to har­vest­ing busi­nesses and it could be the same on this side of the ditch.

Speak­ing to the NZIF an­nual con­fer­ence in Nel­son last month, Gipp­s­land-based con­trac­tor, Ian Reid, says the lack of long-term har­vest­ing con­tracts is re­strict­ing in­no­va­tion be­cause it doesn’t en­cour­age log­gers to in­vest in new ideas and bet­ter equip­ment if they are un­sure of work ten­ure.

And he goes on to add that the use of ten­ders to keep con­trac­tors on their toes and put a lid on har­vest­ing rates is counter-pro­duc­tive.

“The cheapest rate is not nec­es­sar­ily the most cost-ef­fec­tive,” says Mr Reid, who is Har­vest­ing Per­for­mance Man­ager for Aus­tim­ber Har­vest­ing, sit­u­ated in La­trobe Val­ley, east of Mel­bourne.

He says it leads to a pe­riod of dis­rup­tion and costs both the grower and the con­trac­tor, it cre­ates un­cer­tainty and con­trac­tors are less in­clined to up­date equip­ment and fol­low­ing the award of a con­tract there may be de­lays be­fore new equip­ment ar­rives, which sti­fles pro­duc­tion.

Mr Reid ad­vo­cates a ne­go­ti­ated ap­proach, which would pro­vide con­fi­dence on both sides and un­der-pin in­vest in new equip­ment and in­no­va­tion. It would help to stem worker churn in the crew if em­ploy­ees have a more cer­tain fu­ture of work.

But he warns that the in­tro­duc­tion of new tech­nol­ogy should not be seen as a way to re­duce rates, say­ing that a shar­ing of the gains made would be a ‘win-win’ for both par­ties. He also be­lieves that any machin­ery per­for­mance data now be­com­ing avail­able through smart tech­nol­ogy in equip­ment has to be­long to the con­trac­tor and should not be shared with the for­est owner with­out mu­tual agree­ment.


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