Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Environment

The destruction of our farms

Bob Loone

Plantation forestry as practiced in Tasmania is unsustainable. The high nutrient requirement results in the soil becoming depleted of its fertility. The so-called crop becomes unsustainable and unviable. Tasmania’s fertile farmland is being destroyed. A look on the website Google Earth and aerial photos recently taken, shows widespread desolation already caused by unsustainable plantation forestry.

The Editor,

Dear Sir,

There are three aspects of the taxpayer-subsidised (to the tune of $3000 per hectare) destruction of our farms by Corporations open to foreign takeover, and converting them to pulp wood plantations, which is and will continue to severely effect the viability of our state.

1. Economic Loss. Economic loss is destroying rural communities by diminishing the income for businesses dependant on rural sales in both country and city. About 25% of our higher rainfall area farms have already gone causing thousands of jobs to disappear and huge economic losses to our communities. I have put economic loss first to get your attention, but really it should be third because as Herman Daily, senior economist, world bank states;

“The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment.”

2. Unsustainability. Plantation forestry as practiced in Tasmania is unsustainable. The high nutrient requirement results in the soil becoming depleted of its fertility. The so-called crop becomes unsustainable and unviable. Tasmania’s fertile farmland is being destroyed. A look on the website Google Earth and aerial photos recently taken, shows widespread desolation already caused by unsustainable plantation forestry.

3. Toxic Pollution of Air and Water. Unnecessary chemical and smoke contamination of air and water from toxic spray residues and burning of green wood is an ongoing health risk for human, animal, bird, plant and marine life. Forestry is a major Tasmanian contributor of the airborne particles and gasses which are causing climate change. Despite what we are told by plantation forestry spindoctors the best scientific evidence we have shows Pulp Plantations neither addresses nor reduces the causes of climate change.

These three factors and irresponsible forestry activities are very evident throughout Tasmania and are causing extra costs and losses to many councils, people and businesses. Amazingly there are plans to try and double the pulpwood harvest. This will doubly compound our economic, environmental and soil fertility losses. Plantation forestry as practiced is heading for a dead end. Unnecessary and disastrous ongoing hardship and losses (including water) are being imposed on many of our communities.

The deception by highly paid and resourced forestry spin-doctors continues regardless of the inconvenient truth being proclaimed voluntarily by many wonderful, knowledgeable, concerned, and dedicated people.

Our politicians have failed us. Ordinary people must wake up, and stand up, for productivity, integrity, accountability and sustainability on behalf of those who gave us our heritage. Otherwise the economic future of our children and of generations to come will be lost.

Bob Loone

Chudleigh

President

Western Rivers Preservation Trust

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]
13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Mike Bolan

    January 13, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    It’s interesting to calculate the water use of plantations.

    CSIRO reports that each ha uses about 1.5 Ml over and above agricultural production (due to the evapotranspiration losses of trees). This means that Gunns owned plantation estate will require some 180,000 ha x 1.5 Ml per year for around 20 years growth period. That’s a lot of water and doesn’t count the massive plantations in PTRs around the state. The total works out at something like 1,000 Gl per year, contrast that with the 250 Gl or so used for farm irrigation and the value Tasmania gets from each activity and you’ll get an idea of the risks that this mill creates to water.

    Tasmanians are now supposed to gamble that they’ll have enough water for the next 30 years to feed the mill with trees and water, conduct adequate farming activity, have enough water left for power generation and domestic consumption.

  2. DON DAVEY

    January 13, 2007 at 12:47 am

    I wonder that Red doesn’t find it demeaning, he, being the state premier and all ! Gay ! snaps his finger’s and he comes a running tsk.tsk.
    I heard that there were extensive house renovations carried out on Reds house ! back a spell and not been paid for ! perhaps he went cheque in hand.
    Yeah ! that’d be the reason .
    d.d.

  3. DON DAVEY

    January 11, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    Well! the penny drops ! as i originally assumed, the antaganism created by certain posters towards one another was purely for the fun of it, and there i was with many others thinking that there were real concerned individuals regarding the mill scenario, so what’s the deal ! you guy’s get your jollies by winding up concerned folk then meet at your local watering hole for a laugh at our expense well ! whatever turns you on i guess ! however i am learning all the time , learning just to who to ignore or not ! as i previously stated it’s a slow process but i’m pretty patient and i’m getting there.
    d.d.

  4. David Mohr

    January 11, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Today’s Advocate article http://nwtasmania.yourguide.com.au/detail.asp?class=news&subclass=general&story_id=546927&category=general&m=1&y=2007

    contains the following magical quotes from John Gay:

    “Too many are anti- development in Tasmania.”

    “On the mill, he said it would be a “simple process to shift to anywhere” if necessary.”

    “Bugger ’em.

    “The biggest issue is the system that allows the non- supporters to use court issues to get their way.

    “If anyone takes them to court they squeal … but they are using courts all the time.

    “Governments have got to legislate to (allow) elected members of parliament to make decisions for the majority of the people.”

    “There has to be a process that hasn’t got interference by minority groups that want to take everyone to court as soon as they want to do something.”

    Intersting stuff! If Gunns think they can build this anywhere on the mainland lets see them go to anywhere in South Eastern Australia and tell the locals they need 26 gigalitres of water a year to run their mill. Mainland areas with tourist attractions and wine growing regions such as the Tamar Valley wouldn’t have allowed a proposal to build this type of mill to even get to first base.

  5. Tomas

    January 11, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks for asking Jason. I thought Dr Raverty was very brave. And I found it deeply ironic that the Greens were after his scalp and he has since turned out to be their most effective spokesperson. Now, if they allowed him to stay on the RPDC, I wonder if they might have got the assessment rigor they were looking for? All extremely damaging for Lennon etc. It will be very, very difficult to fill those two slots now with high-quality individuals. Perhaps some interstate folk may be brought in.

    Meanwhile, Gay has his ‘get out of jail free’ card if he decided to pull the pin and take a less controversial direction, both politically and commercially, in building the mill elsewhere. Lennon is more desperate for this mill in Tasmania than Gunns.

    As to air quality, we all know it is not great in Launceston. I have expressed my dismay previously as to why anyone would want to live there anyway (it does have nice little shops, gorge is nice too)? The mill not going ahead will be an economic opportunity lost for the region. They may appease the NIMBY locals who like their nice quiet life and may be worried about even more boguns driving their utes around ‘downtown’. Demographically, it will be disasterous as the aging of the population up there will continue unabated as the younger folk move elsewhere for work opportunities. So, no mill would be a win for the short-sighted NIMBY baby boomer, but would accelerate the diminution of Launceston in general. No Tasmanian mill may actually be a good thing for Gunns in the long run, if they can get a similar development up elsewhere, as the market has never been confident about all the eggs being in one Island basket. But they do like companies taking big capital investments if they don’t overextend themselves and they are placed correctly. In summary, I actually believe Gay when he says there are other opportunities for Gunns. I think Lennons break from holidays and sudden trip up North speaks volumes.

  6. John Maddock

    January 11, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Bob Loone is right on the ball.

    Another factor is the destruction of organic matter in the soil by the industry’s adopted policy of clearfell, burn & sow.

    Note the phrase it uses to describe the ideal seedbed for eucalypts to germinate: “mineral soil”.

    So they burn the bejesus out of a forest marked for conversion (the perfect burn is a firestorm creating a central plume in a mushroom cloud), then a few years later they do it again….. and again.

    But not, as Bob Loone correctly says, for ever. The system will fail, and our children and grand children will pay the price of this generation’s stupidity and the selfishness of the forestry industry as presently run.

    John Maddock

  7. Jason Lovell

    January 10, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    “… maybe Bonham and his little friends can tell us.”

    Or maybe you could look it up yourself Don … maybe even before posting lazy inanities like #5.
    Like Bonham, I’m getting bloody sick of it. Talk to the mirror mate, it would be about as effective and it might give the rest of us a break from the seemingly manic force of nature that is DON.

    The real point of interest about the recent spate of Gunns adverts is their timing – looks to me like Gunns has just realised its in trouble with the pulp mill and has reverted to its usual solution of over-whelming spin and PR.

    Given recent statements from John Gay, the level of misinformation about the pulp mill proposal has also moved up a notch or two.

    Personally, I especially loved Gay’s claim that the air quality in the Tamar Valley is no worse than anywhere else in Tasmania.
    By god I’d be embarrassed to be associated with the pulp mill in any way after that one … it says everything and more about this proposal and its backers.

    regards,
    Jason Bonzo Rignoli Lovell
    🙂

    PS I would be very interested in Kevin and Tomas’ thoughts regarding John Gay’s recent statement, especially the bits regarding air quality in the Tamar Valley and the reasons behind Raverty and Green’s resignations.

  8. DON DAVEY

    January 10, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Yesterday whilst doing my thing i was thanked and handed this poem by a well known singer song writer and his wife , i reckon it,s pretty apt and indicitave of how more and more Tasmanians are coming to feel.

    THERES A PULP MILL DOWN IN TASSIE
    A PULP MILL,S ALL TO BLAME
    IT’S IN THE TAMAR VALLEY
    THAT BEACONSFIELD BOUGHT FAME
    A PLACE ONCE QUIET AND PEACEFUL
    BUT NOW IT’S HIT THE FAN
    CAUSE HALF THE FOLK WHO LIVE HERE
    WANT THE DAMN THING BANNED.

    THEY CLAIM IT WILL POLLUTE THEM
    AND MOST CAN,T UNDERSTAND
    IF THE WATER USED IS SO PURE
    WHY NOT PUMP IT BACK ON LAND
    BUT NO WAY THIS WILL HAPPEN
    IT WILL POUR INTO BASS STRAIT
    GUNNS SAY ITS CLEAN AND FRIENDLY
    SEEMS TO ME AN AWFUL WASTE

    THEY’RE GOING TO BUILD A PIPELINE
    FROM MILL WAY OUT TO SEA
    AND ALL THAT PURE CLEAN WATER
    WILL BE LOST TO YOU AND ME
    I CAN,T HELP BUT WONDER
    AT THE EXPENCE THEY,LL HAVE TO PAY
    WHEN THE BLOODY TAMAR RIVER ‘S
    ONLY FIFTY YARDS AWAY

    IF THE WATER WON’T HURT BASS STRAIT
    THEN SURELY tHE RIVER’S SAFE
    OR COULD IT BE WERE LED ASTRAY
    HOW CLEAN’S THAT SWEDISH LAKE ?
    IVE LISTENED TO THE SPIN DOCTOR’S
    AND READ MOST WHAT THEY WRITE
    BUT NEVER SINCE THE FRANKLIN
    WILL THE GOVT HAVE A FIGHT

    YOU’D ALMOST THINK THAT GUNN’S
    WERE RUNNING OUR ISLAND STATE
    THE PULP BOSS AND THE PREMIER
    SEEM BUDDY,BUDDY, MATES
    TO SWEDEN PAUL AND JOHN DID GO
    AS CLOSE AS MATES COULD BE
    THEY SAW THE LATEST PULP MILL
    AND AGREED -POLLUTANT FREE

    SO BACK HOME NOW IN TASSIE
    THEY CAN’T BELIEVE THE FUSS
    WHY WON,T US SILLY PEOPLE
    BELIEVE IN THEM AND TRUST

    IF WASTING WATER’S NOT ENOUGH
    JUST THINK ABOUT THE TRUCKS
    THEY SAY ONE EACH THREE MINUTES
    TO MISS THEM,WE’LL NEED LUCK
    AS THEY DAILY CROSS OUR CITY
    THE ODDS MOUNT UP TENFOLD
    WE PRAY THE CHAINS THAT HOLD THOSE LOGS
    TO JOUNEYS END WILL HOLD.

    TO HAVE SO MANY SEMI’S AND B-DUBS ON OUR ROADS
    LETS HOPE AS IN NEW ZEALAND
    THEY,VE MADE LOWER ALL THE LOADS
    NO DOUBT WE,LL ALL BE RE-ASSURED
    BY SPIN DOCTOR’S,THAT THEY WILL,
    I ONLY HOPE IT HAPPENS
    AS TOP HEAVY LOADS WILL KILL
    I,M NOT CONVINCED THIS PULP MILL
    IS REALLY WHAT WE NEED
    OUR ISLANDS SUCH A SMALL PLACE
    NOT SURE IT ISN,T GREED.

    THE BUSH IS DISSAPEARING
    JUST TAKE A LOOK AROUND
    IT’S LOADED ONTO LOG TRUCKS
    SO THERE’S MORE PLANTATION GROUND
    BUT A WARNING WE ARE GIVEN
    AS I WATCH OUR STREAMS SUBSIDE
    WE NEED THE FARMERS CROPS ! NOT PULP!
    IF WE ARE TO SURVIVE .

    NOW THEY’RE LOOKING AT OUR FARMLAND
    TO PLANT MORE MONEY TREE’S
    BUT THEY WON’T LISTEN AS WE ASK
    “LEAVE SOME OF TASSIE— PLEASE”

    thanks to Anne and John Doherty.
    d.d.

  9. DON DAVEY

    January 10, 2007 at 1:00 am

    Any one seen the latest Gunns spin on television every night for the past week, apparently Gunn,s have been accredited worlds best practice in 4 levels of excellence in forest practice, and just who was it that made these awards i,m led to ask ?
    How about it Gunn,s ! ,we know you monitor these proceedings, let us all know just who made such awards or are these more lies to con the general public into getting your own way ! or maybe bonham or his little friends can tell us.
    d.d.

  10. a view from the hill

    January 10, 2007 at 12:19 am

    No prizes for guessing why the current crop of mendatious twats that are masquerading as our elected representatives have done nothing to support the beef industry in this state. Where is the drive for labelling of Tasmanian beef? Good land for trees, that Tassie beef country. Good rainfall, Good soil, and beef prices being highly cyclical, it is easy to wait for the price to drop before offering another retiring farmer a fist full of the tax payers dollars.
    Once you have a nice portfolio, sell out to a private equity fund, pocketing the taxpayers money.
    Whats the bet it all goes back to pasture?

    This whole process has a smell about it that is reminiscient of fuedal europe, and that is not a stench I want in my son’s nose.

    The greatest shame in all this is the piss weak performance by the TFGA. No representative body that has precided over the decline in terms of trade suffered by Australia’s farmers can claim a proud record of service, as the TFGA were doing last year. Until farmers get a huge dose of the mongrel and take control of marketing their produce the problems that bedevil agriculture will continue. Unfortunately that will never happen in this state while the chinless bunch that run the TFGA consider the main game to be getting seats on govt boards, rather than addressing the FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE WHICH IS GETTING A REALISTIC PRICE FOR THE EFFORT CAPITAL AND RISK ASSOCIATED WITH AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION.

    With a real income, agriculture would compete with foretry, and much of this argument would recede into the background. Maybe this is why successive governments have been content to see agriculture run harder and harder just to remain standing on the treadmill that is “economic growth”.

  11. DON DAVEY

    January 9, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    Of course it makes perfect sense for Gunn,s to buy into wineries, one has already gone to the wall and when the stink, and pollution etc, send the others the same way, who do you think will be there with a fistfull of taxpayer dollars to buy them out also, Gay and his cronies ! because no one else will, then we will have timber plantations throughout the Tamar valley, now! isn,t that a pretty picture ?
    d.d.

  12. Brenda Rosser

    January 9, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    The takeover (and destruction) of family farms is the modern day continuation of what some economists call capitalist ‘primitive accumulation’. It’s worth doing an internet search to find out more about this process. What it means, in essence, is that origin of much economic capital that has ‘accumulated’ to (fewer) individuals and corporations has arisen through theft, war and other forms of violence. Not ‘market mechanisms’ as the current corporatist governments would have us believe.

    The Federal Howard Government and the State Labor variety continue this historical process by forcing the taxpayer and workers to hand over their money to finance the purchase of Austalia’s land by transnational corporations. In essence this is theft and it is done through the Federal ‘Managed Investment Schemes’, direct payments of huge grants, restricting competition and other processes kept generally well hidden.

    The greater concentration of productive assets into fewer and fewer hands leads to generalised enslavement and hastens general economic collapse.

    “We have reached the deplorable circumstance where in large measure a very powerful few are in possession of the earth’s resources, the land and its riches and all the franchises and other privileges that yield a return. These positions are maintained virtually without taxation; they are immune to the demands made on others. The very poor, who have nothing, are the object of compulsory charity. And the rest — the workers, the middle-class, the backbone of the country — are made to support the lot by their labor.”

    —-Agnes George de Mille (granddaughter of Henry George), New York, 1979

  13. Mark

    January 9, 2007 at 10:13 am

    Around Mt Barker in WA there have been numerous complaints of forestry burns tainting the grape harvest and the wine. Makes one wonder as to why Gunns bought into the major Launceston vineyards. Perhaps a win-win negotiation?

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