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


Dear Lara and Julia

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust today sent the following ‘Open Letter’ letter to the Premier Lara Giddings and copied it to the Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Tony Burke, Bryan Green and their advisors regarding the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement (expected to be signed this Sunday 7 August 2011).

Peter McGlone


Hon Lara Giddings MP
The Premier
Level 11
15 Murray St
Hobart Tas 7000

Email: Mark Sayer, Chief of Staff, The Premier

3 August 2011

Dear Premier,

Getting the best possible forest conservation result from the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust is greatly concerned that the Tasmanian Forests Heads of Agreement (HoA), released by the Tasmanian and Australian Governments on 24 July 2011, only considers a narrow part of the forests conservation agenda (whether to reserve up to 572,000 ha of high conservation value (HCV) forests on public land) and fails to guarantee any significant forest conservation outcomes.

A key problem with the HoA is that delivery of forest reserves has been de-linked from outcomes for the forestry industry, so that there is no certainty that the HCV forest reserves (of any reserve category) will ever be delivered.

The best chance of obtaining secure and permanent reserves is if they are part of a package that includes concurrent delivery for all sides – in other words, the forestry industry does not get its package until we have the reserves.

We urge you to work with the Australian Government to ensure that in the imminent intergovernmental agreement these magnificent public native forests are securely protected from logging via permanent reservation concurrent with delivery of outcomes to other parties.

As we have flagged, although the HoA must be greatly improved for any meaningful conservation gains to come out of the forest principles process, it cannot be the final Tasmanian forest peace deal. There are many important forest conservation issues not addressed in the HoA and most of these were not adequately addressed or were entirely omitted from the Tasmanian Forests Statement of Principles. Important forest conservation issues which remain to be addressed include:

– protection of forest biodiversity including threatened species habitats (where almost all priorities are on private land);
– improved management and planning of plantations;
– improved management of the Tasmanian reserve system through increased funding and creation of a Parks and Reserves Authority;
– retention of carbon and the accrual of income from emissions reduction and new permanent sequestration to Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance;
– disestablishment of Forestry Tasmania and replacing it with new institutions to manage publicly owned wood resources;
– conservation of other HCV public native forests (outside of the proposed 572,000ha reserve areas);
– stopping the Gunns Tamar Valley pulp mill.

Even given these very serious short-comings, it is vital that the Tasmanian and Australian governments achieve the best possible outcome for forest conservation in the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement, which we expect to be signed this Sunday 7 August 2011. Please ensure that the opportunity which this Sunday’s agreement promises is not lost.

This is an ‘Open Letter’ and as such has been distributed to the TCT’s media contact list and TCT’s ‘Forests and pulp mill’ email contact list.

Yours sincerely,

Peter McGlone


The Hon Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister, Fax: (02) 6273 4100

Hon Tony Burke MP, Australian Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Email: Tony.Burke.MP@aph.gov.au

Sean Halse, Forests Policy Advisor, Australian Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Hon Bryan Green MP, Tasmanian Minister for Energy and Resources
Email: bryan.green@parliament.tas.gov.au

Karen Vadasz, Forests Policy Advisor, Tasmanian Minister for Energy and Resources

Tasmanian Conservation Trust Inc
Ph: 03 62 343552
2nd fl, 191-193 Liverpool St, Hobart 7000
Email : tct6@bigpond.com
Fax: 03 62 312491

Web: www.tct.org.au

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


  1. Col

    August 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    COMPROMISE: To arrive at a settlement by making concessions.

    until ALL parties genuinely do this nothing will happen. Sick of Bob Brown, sick of Lara, sick of Julia.

    COMPROMISE: To arrive at a settlement by making concessions.

  2. blatter

    August 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Lewis – the current desperate state of Gunns, FT and the Tasmanian forestry industry has nothing to do with the ENGO negotiations surrounding the Forests Statement of Principles and now the Heads of Agreement. Poor management and a failed business model that relied on Government handouts has done that. By their participation, these inept ENGO negotiators have simply given the Labor State and Federal governments a veneer of credibility while they waste more taxpayer dollars propping up this failed industry.

    The Wilderness Society, Australian Conservation Society and Environment Tasmania have participated in negotiations that do not reject outright Gunns pulp mill, therefore giving implicit support for the whole corrupt process surrounding the Government approvals for that development. Even if one were to accept the trade of forest protection for the pulp mill there is a problem.

    So far, all the negotiations have achieved is another $276 million of subsidies for the forestry industry and further support for the pulp mill. To date, not a single additional tree has been guaranteed protection by this process.

    Even if all the HCV forests were to become protected, the reality is that most of these areas would not have been logged anyway due to economic constraints. A poor trade for a pulp mill that is too big to be supported by Tasmanian plantations.

    Forestry and the pulp mill are to the Tasmanian Greens, the Wilderness Society, Australian Conservation Foundation and Environment Tasmania what the GST was to the Australian Democrats. If this issues is mishandled they will see what remaining support they have melt away. These organizations will be replaced by others. Already we see protest groups such as Still Wild Still Threatened and the Huon Valley Environment Centre taking over roles normally carried out by the Wilderness Society and Environment Tasmania. The Tasmanian Conservation Trust has also taken a principled stand by not signing on to the Forests Statement of Principles, by exposing shortcomings in the Statement of Principles and Heads of Agreement and by taking legal action against the critical Gunns pulp mill pipeline approval by the Federal Government.

  3. David Obendorf

    August 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    ‘lewis’ [comment 2] – maybe you’re – please excuse my venacular – one of the inside tent-pissers?

    The imbalance here for TT readers is identity; who in all good-will is ‘lewis’?

    That strategy of secrecy allowed the forestry interests to have their way with Tasmania for decades. Again ‘lewis’ seems to know of a surprise in store because somehow the Greens have the answers and the control whilst the forestry interests don’t.

    When I’ve been deceived and lied to by individuals that claim to be pro-conservation in Tasmania, my confidence in their negotiation and advocacy evaporated.

    I have to ask, have these ENGO envirocracies who want to stop cutting down trees, actually turned on people instead? The ‘end’ justifies the ‘means’?

    Welcome to Taz-mania!

  4. Barnaby Drake

    August 4, 2011 at 1:37 am

    If this is a Heads of Agreement document, I believe they should roll!

  5. john hayward

    August 4, 2011 at 1:14 am

    Dear Peter,
    It was no oversight that saw the environment offered nothing.

    It was the presumption of the government that the roundtable greenies would be satisfied with once again merely playing at being big minnows in the Tassie puddle. No change of the win/lose status quo was ever intended.

    John Hayward

  6. lewis

    August 3, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    David O, please watch this space.

    The best negotiations are done behind a public screen and those “self-selected ENGOs negotiators ” have done more than all of the negative contributors to TT on this topic over the past 20 years. Gunns in a trading halt; at their lowest ever share price; FT and the FPA in a state of desperation;selling pulp logs to China at the highest exchange rate since Paul Keating; the Libs with absolutely NO idea; and the Greens with ALL of the cards.

    Interestingly those that have an aspiration (rightly so by the way) to preserve family native forestry operations, whether they be loggers, truckers, sawmillers, or specialty timber craftsmen, are so much closer to sustainabilty than ever.

    Gunns = NO, FT = NO, the FPA =NO. Minister Green = NO

    Watch this space, you all might be suprised!

  7. David Obendorf

    August 3, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Good luck Pete…I don’t like your chances though!

    The difficulties faced comes from the appeasement of the self-selected ENGOs negotiators who gave too many soft serves during the whole secret process.

    Maybe they were just brow-beaten into compliance? Anyway, Lara and Julia really believe that we’re are all cute & cosy with ET Inc, TWS and ACF; all’s hunky-dory among the conservationist bodies.

    This political caravan has defintely rolled out of Hobart and heading toward the coffers in Canberra. And they’re not stopping at any high conservation forest national park on the way. Maybe they’ll stop off at Lindsay Street in Launie to see if any taxpayer cash is needed there.

    PS: Pete, please send a copy of your ‘Dear Lara’ letter to Dr Pullinger, Vica Bayley and Don Henry while you’re at it.

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