A conservation group and a parliamentarian have claimed the Eden chipmill is giving taxpayers about $150 per truckload of wood harvested from state forests.
During a budget estimates inquiry in September, NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge asked Forestry Corporation CEO Nick Roberts for information around how the delivered price for pulp logs was calculated on the South Coast.
Mr Roberts agreed to take the questions on notice and the response provided stated currently the weighted average residual value is $3.72/tonne and the weighted average cost to harvest and haul pulp logs is $72.28/t.
"The residual value, or stumpage, is highly variable and based on the distance from the mill and difficulty of harvesting," it reads.
The response also stated the South Coast's pulp logs mainly came from trees harvested to supply local sawmills with sawlogs.
This information suggests the average cost to harvest and haul pulp logs for a truck with a 35-tonne load is $2530.
But Chipstop campaign convener Harriett Swift said it also showed the value of one 35tonne truck, which she claimed was an average load, to the taxpayer was less than $150.
Ms Swift said the Eden chipmill still had to pay logging and haulage on a truckload of wood, but this $150 was what the chipmill paid to Forestry Corporation on behalf of NSW taxpayers for the right to collect that wood.
"Just when we thought that price paid by the chipmill for woodchip or pulp logs could not get any lower, this new information shows that they are virtually free," she said.
"The public owns these forests, why should we be virtually giving them away especially at a time when we need them more than ever as carbon sinks?"
Speaking to Australian Community Media, Mr Shoebridge said he agreed with Ms Swift's analysis of the information provided to his questions on notice saying the industry was "stripping our native forests for chicken feed".
He said the $3.72/tonne price for residual value was at a record low, in terms of data he had seen over the last decade, which was evidence native forest logging was "continuing its terminal decline".
"There's is vastly more economic potential in maintaining and protecting native forests," Mr Shoebridge said.
"Once we get to the point of protecting the forests we will then have the certainty for investment in eco facilities, walking trails, world-class mountain biking and horse trails.
"Every one of those ventures will bring vastly more money in than logging will."
When presented with the claims Allied Natural Wood Exports general manager Kel Henry said he was not aware of the breakdown of payments made to Forestry Corporation and so could add nothing more to what it had already stated.
Blue Ridge work to last until mid-2020
During the budget estimates inquiry Mr Shoebridge also asked about the expected contract length with Eden timber mill Blue Ridge Hardwood as it has a parcel sale with Forestry Corporation that lasts until the end of December.
"There is a reasonable volume of log in their yard, so the expectation is that mill would run until sometime in the middle of next year," Mr Roberts said.
He said Forestry Corporation was not the only log supplier to Blue Ridge Hardwoods.