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

Forest funds flawed

Sid Marris, Paul Maley The Australian

MILLIONS of dollars of forestry assistance was handed out in Tasmania without proper assessment under recommendations from a committee peppered with industry representatives, the audit office has found. A range of forestry projects worth $13 million were handed money with little detailed information or the complete scrutiny of an independent assessor. The Australian National Audit Office suggests that decisions under the program were rushed, not “transparent” and failed commonly accepted standards for grants, in a report into joint commonwealth and state forestry industry assistance projects worth $56 million. The program was established after John Howard’s 2004 election victory.

In one of the largest grants, $7.9 million for the Malaysian subsidiary Ta Ann, the Tasmanian Government took it on itself to bypass some of the rules in approving money. In some approvals, assessments were so poor it was unclear whether applicants even owned the timber and forestry assets for which they sought taxpayer assistance. Some projects received additional money with no explanation given to approving ministers from the state and federal governments – Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz and former Tasmanian minister Bryan Green. Read more here

Sue Neales Mercury

THE National Audit Office has questioned the appropriateness of at least $13 million of federal government grants to Tasmanian forestry companies in the past two years. Read more here

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Pilko

    March 2, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Rudd wont touch this because Lennon is indicted. That would put federal labor at odds with tas labor. The Mates strike again. Rudd will no doubt pass up on this great opportunity to take the take down the former forestry minister because of this. This only adds weight to the peoples call for a Royal Commission and an ICAC. What a bunch of (suspects). Brian Green and Paul Lennon. Christ o mighty.

  2. Mike Bolan

    March 1, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    It might be a good TT idea to provide a place for readers to register how much money has gone to forestry in the last 10 years, how many jobs were created and what return did we get on the money?

    That way we could calculate the total impacts of their operations and the total benefits.

  3. Garry Stannus

    March 1, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Thanks Sue Neales for letting us know about the Commonwealth Audit into the awarding of federal government grants for logging in Tasmania.

    Her article suggested that Eric Abetz was the Federal Minister responsible when “proper process was short-circuited” and grants were approved “without sufficient documentation and transparency… sometimes without assessment …”

    It should be noted that the then Minister for Economic Development in the Lennon Govt, Bryan Green, was also jointly responsible for these grants – in the development of the funding guidelines and for the actual approval of the funding of the grants.

    Sue Neale’s article suggested that these grants were rushed through before the last Federal election and it seems that our Tasmanian Govt colluded with this.

    I’m getting more confused daily by Eric Abetz: she quotes him as saying “The report is a complete repudiation of the assertions of the Greens’ senator, Christine Milne, that the minister did not act properly and in accordance with the law in his approval of these grants,”

    These are Abetz’s words, they are not drawn from the report. He makes it sound as if the report was written in response to assertions made by Christine Milne. Actually, the report was written, and Christine Milne quoted from it and described it in language which was not available to the writer of the Audit Report.

    Actually the minister that Abetz is referring to is himself, before the election. The other minister at the time, was Bryan Green …and we all know that he was a minister back then and is now dealing with certain matters pertaining to his time as a minister …

    I read the report and Christine Milne’s response to it, in her media release “28th Feb 08 Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne today called on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to establish an inquiry…” seems fair comment – one does have to question why Abetz and Bryan Green shouldn’t be held responsible for the anomalies that the report raises.

  4. john Hayward

    March 1, 2008 at 10:51 am

    After a look at the Auditor-General’s report on the Community Forest Agreement’s stewardship by Eric Abetz’s Dept of Ag, Fish , and Forestry, you wonder if SS veterans aren’t offended by the Sun Herald’s allegation of their connection with Eric.

    Some government management is just sloppy. In this case however, “rort”, in the baldfaced Tassie sense of the word, seems to be the proper classification. This is a shocker. Burke has some work to do.

    John Hayward

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