WE CALL ON Labor, Liberal and Greens to declare their support for an independent Inquiry into the toxic effects of E.niten plantations.
This Inquiry is necessary because the toxins from these hybrid trees deny our rights to safe drinking water. The following reasons also make this investigation necessary:
1) The disclosures made on Australian Story on ABC1 on Monday 22nd February that seven independent laboratories have shown the plantation timber E.nitens is poisoning the water supply and catchments of Tasmanian rivers;
2) This toxin can kill human cells and has most probably already killed oyster larvae and other marine organisms;
3) The EPA division of the Department of Primary Industry, Parks, Water and Environment concluded incorrectly in their parallel investigation that this toxin occurs naturally and is produced by native forests;
4) Forestry Tasmania has had a 30 year program to genetically improve E.nitens in order to increase yield. These non-native toxic trees now make up 75% of Forestry Tasmania eucalyptus plantation estates, a resource worth billions of dollars. They have also been sold to other states and overseas countries; and
5) The director of Public Health has failed to keep his office informed as to the results of the independent studies conducted by Dr Alison Bleaney and Dr Marcus Scammell;
We believe that an Integrity Commission Inquiry would more likely uncover all the facts of this situation than a royal commission where the terms of reference are set by government. For this reason, even though a Commissioner has yet to be appointed, we call for a:
INTEGRITY COMMISSION of INQUIRY into the TOXIC EFFECTS of E.NITENS PLANTATIONS
TERMS OF REFERENCE
The terms of reference of this Commission of Inquiry are proposed under the Integrity Commission Act (2009).
The Integrity Commission will enquire into, and report on:
1 the geographic extent of these toxic plantations and the biological impact they are having and likely to have in the future on river catchments, water quality, aquatic life, humans and other species;
2 how it was administratively possible for Forestry Tasmania and other related organisations to carry out a 30 year program to breed, grow and develop the current toxic plantation without a risk assessment being carried out in regard to community health or the environment;
3 whether in their investigation of this toxin in the George River the Minister or any officers of the Department of Primary Industry, Parks, Water and Environment breached any code of conduct, misused any information, acted improperly or unethically during the course of these investigations, the conclusions of which are recorded on the website: http://www.environment.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=233
4 whether any officer of Forestry Tasmania or other persons have breached any code of conduct, misused information or acted improperly or unethically in their program to genetically improve E.nitens;
5 whether the current role and responsibilities of the Environmental Protection Authority have been neglected, misused, or improperly or unethically used in relation to the development of these toxic trees and the related plantation programs;
6 whether the current role and responsibilities of the Director of Public Health have been neglected, misused, or improperly or unethically used in relation to the development of these toxic trees and the related plantation programs;
7 the most economical method of disposing of these toxic plantations as quickly as possible in order that the community and the environment is not put at any further risk; and
8 The necessity for applying the precautionary principle so that a moratorium is imposed on planting this hybrid form of E.nitens anywhere in the state until this Inquiry is completed.
Dr Andrew Lohrey, Former Minister for Forests, Mr Robert Belcher, Managing Director, Sustainable Agricultural Communities Australia, saca.org.au
Picture: A Forestry Tasmania E Nitens plantation at Goulds Country, North-East Tasmania