Forest Practices awards, November 2011. IFA members present

The IFA, or Institute of Foresters of Australia, is a professional body with over 1350 members engaged in all branches of forest management and conservation in Australia. The membership represents all segments of the forestry profession, including public and private practitioners engaged in many aspects of forestry, nature conservation, resource and land management, research, administration and education. Membership is not restricted to professional Foresters. The Institute is strongly committed to the principles of sustainable forest management and the processes and practices which translate these principles into outcomes.

The Institute has strong membership in Tasmania, but they appear disgusted at the way their profession and their association have been ignored and sidelined in the IGA and in the work of the Independent Verification Group.  They are among the many who are dismayed at the whole sorry process of governments responding to interest groups and amateurs, and to processes that are outside of participatory democracy where the intent is to destroy an industry and the jobs and services it provides, and simultaneously insulting the sources of dedicated and professional advice.

The Institute has prepared a critique on the work of the Independent Verification Group, and this was published on their website earlier this week ( Read more here: Independent Verification Group (IVG) - Letters and Critique, includes a Letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard ). It follows a response by Forestry Tasmania released last week on its electronic newsletter “Branchlines”, which can be seen here: ( Bob Gordon: FT is solvent ...

Both of these critiques are serious body blows to the credibility of the IGA and the work of the Independent Verification Group, and both cast doubt on the safety and reliability of the IVG reports as the basis and foundation for major public policy changes that would make major differences to the size, scale and viability of a whole industry sector, and the long value chains in downstream processing and associated employment and economic activity, as well as to the viability and population levels in regions and local communities. Ultimately it could prove to be the significant factor in the downfall of the current state government, and a threat to the already shaky future of the federal government.

In the last few days we have also had the spectacle of the budget estimates, where it has been revealed that the state government is contemplating introducing legislation on a forestry proposal with potential new reserves with the details of those reserves missing, to be filled in at a later date. Simultaneously it has been revealed that a two month old request by Forestry Tasmania employees to have a meeting with the Premier has yet to receive a response, but a letter was mentioned as being in the process of being written. How hard that must be!


The Age: Timber losing its hard edge

*Roberto Seremala is known to the Editor. He is not an IFA member.