Tasmanian Times has been inundated with requests to republish Richard Flanagan’s eviscerating essay Paradise Razed, published two weeks ago in the UK Telegraph. It is not available on the Net.

But today The Monthly magazine publishes the updated Richard Flanagan essay.

“Tasmania’s remoteness, its wildness, its unique natural world — all seemed to offer the possibility of a prosperous and good future to a state that had for a century been the poorest in the Australian Commonwealth. Instead, over the past three decades Tasmania has mortgaged its future to the woodchipping industry, which is today dominated by one company: Gunns Ltd.”

In “Out of Control”, award-winning Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan delves into the murky relationship between the timber giant Gunns and state and federal politics. He shows how a private company has been handed control of Tasmania’s most precious resource — its unique old-growth forests, of world importance — and how that company’s profits from clearfelling are being returned not to the state’s people, not even to forestry workers, but instead to a small group of wealthy shareholders. This is the defining statement on the tragedy of Tasmania’s forests and the debasement of contemporary politics in relation to the environment.

“Gunns’ shares were languishing at $1.40 when Jim Bacon’s Labor government came to power. The company’s subsequent growth was dizzying. Within four years, it had recorded an increase of 199% in profits. With the acquisition of two rival companies, Gunns took control of more than 85% of logging in Tasmania. Five years after Bacon won government Gunns was worth more than $1 billion, with shares trading in excess of $12.”

The Monthly is in newsagents today.

Read more here