Image for A sense of betrayal ...

Will a rolling extension of the RFA lead to more threats to the Giant Freshwater Crayfish ... ?

I believe it is high time that the issue of a “rolling extension” of the TAS RFA has a wider airing than it has had so far, especially in the media.

I feel I am responding to a sense of betrayal which those of us who sent 2015 submissions to the Third Five-yearly Review of the TAS RFA - and especially those who sent further December 2016 submissions resulting from the “drop-in centre” format of the face-to-face (limited) public consultations held that month in Burnie, Scottsdale and Huonville - STILL feel.

If Tony Burke dismisses the “public consultation” part of the RFA in this manner, whilst also admitting that RFAs are “bilateral agreements”, then both state and federal politicians MUST be held responsible for such a weak response to the facts - environmental and economic - as laid bare by Forestry Tasmania Chairman, Rob de Fegely in his 29th December 2016 letter to state treasurer Peter Gutwein and Guy Barnett, state Minister for Resources.

Tony Burke especially should feel considerable shame in his weak response, outlined in your email, having been closely associated with the design and passing of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement (“forest peace deal”) by the TAS Legislative Council on 30 April 2013.

In her book “My Story” Julia Gillard wrote (page 411) : “Without Tony Burke’s outstanding input, all the effort would have come to nought”. Well it did come to nought, thanks to the current Will Hodgman Tasmanian government.

Tony Burke, having been a witness to the revelation (page 409)  “... that Forestry Tasmania had been fudging the figures ...” and had “... effectively gone rogue and over-committed in contracts.” (March 2012) and then, prior to August 2012, had “....updated its data to show that even less wood was available…” should be pro-actively protecting a future Bill Shorten government by preventing the Commonwealth committing to another 20 years of the TAS RFA.

In doing so he would be protecting the Tasmanian economy and environment and all those who are employed therein - and especially those who deeply understand their value at this time of the growing impact of climate change.

I have been calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to act to WIND-UP the TAS RFA NOW before it is too late. Neither the PM nor Tony Burke have responded to my emails and/or letters.

*Rosemary Farrell lives in NW Tasmania. She studied Life Science - then a new Grade 8 subject known as Science IIC - at Taroona High School in 1963, taking those studies through to Year 11 at Hobart Matric College in 1966. Interest in Tasmania’s unique fauna, flora and bush ecology has resonated with her strongly. She and husband, Andy, were awarded life membership of Tas Landcare, and both also taught in state and catholic schools in the NW before retiring.