Image: Mattias Klum. Land Cleared for oil palm plantation creates a patchwork of scars across what were once Sarawak’s majestic forests, threatening ...
... orangutans. Image: Tim Laman
Environment group exposes Ta Ann’s links to allegations of human rights abuses and environmental destruction in Sarawak, Malaysia.
Huon Valley Environment Centre will today launch a report that documents practices of human rights abuses and environmental destruction with global significance in Sarawak, Malaysia.
“The logging of Sarawak’s forests and peatlands for palm oil plantations is occurring at a frantic pace.
“With globally significant impacts on greenhouse gas emissions, displacement of indigenous peoples and entrenched corruption, Huon Valley Environment Centre exposes the link between Ta Ann Tasmania and it’s parent company who is one of the largest timber companies in Sarawak, linked to practices such as these,’ Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber stated.
“The report documents claims by indigenous people in Sarawak, that Ta Ann have been using gangsters to threaten them, having their water poisoned by Ta Ann’s plantations and losing food supply due to logging activities,
“Ta Ann’s Executive Chairman Sepawi, who accompanied Tasmania’s Forest Minister to meet with Japanese customers recently, is a notorious figure in Sarawak, a region noted for its entrenched political corruption and large scale environmental devastation.
“The Tasmanian Government by working with Sepawi is inadvertantly endorsing their questionable practices in Sarawak,’ Jenny Weber said.
“The Huon Valley Environment Centre condemns the environmental practices of the timber industry and the human rights abuses that are carried out in Sarawak.
“Ta Ann Tasmania is inextricably linked to these practices. We are calling on the Tasmanian and Australian Government to critically assess their partnership with a company that is involved in such abhorrent practices.
“We question the role that Ta Ann Holdings has to play in the future of Australia’s timber industry,’ Jenny Weber said.
“The Huon Valley Environment Centre aims to raise awareness about the activities of Ta Ann in its home state of Sarawak, and highlight the connections with Ta Ann Tasmania.
“Ta Ann Tasmania can not pretend to be disconnected from the practices of the Ta Ann group in its home state.
“The Australian community and authorities need to send a clear message to Ta Ann that their environmentally and socially destructive operations are an international disgrace,” Jenny Weber said.
The Report can be viewed here:
EARLIER ON TASMANIAN TIMES:
Hydro Tasmania Chairman David Crean, a former Tasmanian Treasurer in Malaysia
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• BRING FOREST MANAGEMENT BACK UNDER MINISTERIAL CONTROL
Nick McKim MP
The Tasmanian Greens today tabled a motion in State Parliament calling for the management of Tasmania’s state forest estate to be returned to State Government departments under direct ministerial authority.
Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said the recent URS report into Forestry Tasmania made it clear that the government business enterprise was “unable to fulfil its obligations under the Government Business Enterprise Act 1995, to operate as a successful business.” 
“A major cause of this finding is the failed business model involving a reliance on taxpayer subsidies, and market interference by Forestry Tasmania,” Mr McKim said.
“It is now clear that the only way forward for the industry is to abolish this rogue agency, and for the public forests and land managed by Forestry Tasmania to be transferred to relevant government departments.”
“Forestry Tasmania has done everything it can to undermine Tasmania’s forest industry transition, and it has to go.”
 Strategic Review of Forestry Tasmania, Stage 1 Report, 3 Feb 2012; p. 5
Text of Motion tabled by Greens Leader Nick McKim MP:
That this House:
1. Notes the Stage 1 URS report into Forestry Tasmania, (Full name: Strategic Review of Forestry Tasmania: Extract of Stage 1 Report (Redacted)), released on the 3rd February, which confirms that “‘the recent poor financial results mean that under current policy settings, Forestry Tasmania is unable to fulfil its obligations under the Government Business Enterprises Act 1995, to operate as a successful business”;
2. Agrees that a major cause of this finding is the failed business model involving a reliance on taxpayer subsidies, and market interference by Forestry Tasmania; and
3. Agrees that Forestry Tasmania cannot continue to operate in its current form and that the management of Tasmania’s state forest estate should be returned to Government departments under direct ministerial authority.
• MINISTER CLEARFELLS FT’S CLAIMS ON TIMBER CONTRACTS
Kim Booth MP
Greens Forestry Spokesperson
The Tasmanian Greens said that the Minister for Forests Bryan Green had today exploded the myth that Forestry Tasmania was unable to reduce logging in areas identified for protection under the IGA because of its existing contractual obligations.
Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that the Minister confirmed in Parliament today that Ta Ann Tasmania had approached Forestry Tasmania seeking to reduce its contracted wood supply quota, and to have its timber sourced outside the IGA identified areas.
“Today the Minister has confirmed that Ta Ann has requested a change of timber supply resource and a reduction in their logging volumes, and yet, astonishingly, Forestry Tasmania continues to log within the areas agreed for reservation under the Forests Intergovernmental Agreement,” Mr Booth said.
“This follows confirmation from the CEO of Forestry Tasmania last week that Ta Ann had requested timber from outside high conservation value forests identified in the IGA.”
“This should put an end to Forestry Tasmania’s fraudulent claim that it cannot reduce logging inside the areas identified for protection.”
“Forestry Tasmania now has a choice to either listen to the wishes of its biggest customer, or continue with its fanatical campaign to mow down Tasmania’s high conservation value forests.”
“Forestry Tasmania’s myopic vision to destroy the IGA by continuing to log within the protected 430,000 is now destroying the international image of its major customer.”
“If Ta Ann wants out of high conservation value forests, how can Forestry Tasmania continue to lock them in? This is yet further proof of a rogue agency out of control,” Mr Booth said.