Tasmanian Times

Economy

‘A public execution for Forestry Tasmania’

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Ken Jeffreys
Forestry Tasmania
GM Corporate Relations and Tourism

Real jobs for Real people.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBIUGiCiX00

Ken Jeffreys 28/08/2012

Dear colleagues,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you of the latest developments concerning the future of Forestry Tasmania.

In previous emails and in meetings with staff, Bob Gordon gave an undertaking to keep you as fully informed as possible about progress of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement and the government’s consideration of the URS Strategic Review of Forestry Tasmania. My email today seeks to honour Bob’s commitment. I also feel comfortable about providing you with an update because the government itself, in response to staff demands for consultation during the URS review, wrote that it was up to management to communicate with employees about progress of the review.

You are aware that URS considered three options for Forestry Tasmania. The first was to keep Forestry Tasmania largely as it is with some modifications, the second was to split the commercial and non-commercial functions, with the non commercial functions transferred to the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment and the third was to make Forestry Tasmania a government department.

URS ruled out the third option and concluded options one and two were comparable in terms of financial outcomes, but it marginally favoured option two. The consultant indicated its view might be different if the TFIA resulted in a substantial change in log harvest levels.

Over the past few weeks, the government through its elected representatives and its bureaucrats repeatedly informed Bob and I, and for that matter members of the Board, that it would land somewhere between options one and two and that FT would not be split up given the upheaval that would cause for little demonstrable benefit.

On the basis of those understandings, Bob took his scheduled leave, satisfied that a satisfactory outcome would be achieved. The additional assurance was in the Interim Agreement,which included the need for a viable commercial forest manager as part of the durability provisions. The negotiators specifically wanted to make sure FT had control over the wood production area – unlike Victoria where coupes are allocated by their Parks and Wildlife equivalent (DSE) for harvesting and regeneration and returned to DSE.

Last Wednesday, I attended a meeting at the Deputy Premier’s office to discuss how this outcome would be communicated to staff and the wider community. I was to be provided with a copy of a Ministerial Statement and a proposed media release.

However, on arrival I was informed the plans had changed, that cabinet had discussed the matter at its meeting the previous Monday, that the Greens had insisted on the immediate implementation of option two (splitting FT) and that the Deputy Premier and our minister had been “rolled”.

I was shown a draft letter addressed to the Board chairman, informing him of the decision and how that decision would be implemented.

As a result of reading the draft, and from other events, I formed the view last week that the government intended a public execution for Forestry Tasmania.

For example, it is not common knowledge that three FT board members, including our current chair, were due to retire on June 30. Two of those board members, including Mr Kloeden, agreed to continue to serve until September to allow the government extra time to finalise the replacement board appointees, and to appoint a new chairman.

These changes were part of routine business – board members serve their time and are replaced.

However, as events unfolded last week, it was clear to me that there was a high risk the government intended to portray this routine changeover as a pro-active action by the government to appoint a “new” board – suggesting by implication that there was something wrong with the old board.

Further, it would be announced that a Head of Agency would be appointed to the board – presumably because the government couldn’t trust the board it appointed to run the affairs of the company. This “politicisation” of the board runs counter to good corporate governance practice of maintaining an independent board operating at arms length from government.

As for the splitting up of FT, the government proposed to announce the formation of an Oversight Committee to manage the transfer of staff and land, amongst other things, from FT to DPIPWE. This oversight committee would consist of three Heads of Agency, with no FT representation. A Project Team, also consisting of bureaucrats with no FT representation, would be established to report to the Oversight Committee.

The Chairman and the Managing Director of FT would be relegated to an advisory committee, with no decision making powers.

It was also clear the government intended to implement as much of the change as possible before seeking parliamentary approval. The splitting up of Forestry Tasmania requires legislation, but rather than attempt to pass the legislation prior to implementing the changes, the government is seeking to begin the process before introducing legislation. If the parliament doesn’t approve the changes, then we will be in a position of having to try to unscramble the egg and put back together a dismembered FT.

In summary, previous government undertakings provided to Bob, I and others have been broken. I am not in a position to gauge whether this was the government’s intention all along, or whether in fact, the broken promises are a result, as claimed by the Minister’s Office, that the Minister was rolled in cabinet on Monday last week, because the Greens insisted on the public abolition of FT.

I know none of this will ease any of the uncertainty that you are all feeling. The government was to have announced the changes last Tuesday, it was then delayed until Thursday, and then delayed until Friday. I am not in a position to indicate when the announcement will be made.

As we have previously indicated, Forestry Tasmania’s Board and management will assist the government implement handing over reserves to Parks and Wildlife, even though FT does not necessarily believe there will be any financial advantage in doing so. FT has been primarily concerned with its ability to return a profit and to act commercially under the model adopted by government. The board has reservations that the model proposed will deliver that outcome.

As unsettling as this might be, the management team would appreciate you remaining at your post, to keep doing the things you are paid to and to the very best of of your ability. If you feel distressed at all by this issue, please make use of the Employee Assistance Program, which is a free service for staff, and completely confidential.

Kind regards,

Ken

Ken Jeffreys
Forestry Tasmania
GM Corporate Relations and Tourism

Real jobs for Real people.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBIUGiCiX00

• Mercury: Forestry Tas set to be split

NICK CLARK | August 28, 2012 11.26am

FORESTRY Tasmania is to be split into commercial and non-commercial sections, a leaked FT internal memo reveals today.

In the memo FT communications director Ken Jeffreys describes the decision as a “public execution of FT”.

The split follows one of the two recommendations of a review for the Government by URS Forestry.

In the memo, Mr Jeffreys says Deputy Premier Bryan Green had been “rolled” in Cabinet by the Tasmanian Greens, which had insisted on the split option.

“Last Wednesday, I attended a meeting at the Deputy Premier’s office to discuss how this outcome would be communicated to staff and the wider community. I was to be provided with a copy of a Ministerial Statement and a proposed media release,” he said.

“However, on arrival I was informed the plans had changed, that Cabinet had discussed the matter at its meeting the previous Monday, that the Greens had insisted on the immediate implementation of option two (splitting FT) and that the Deputy Premier and our minister had been ‘rolled’.

“I was shown a draft letter addressed to the Board chairman informing him of the decision and how that decision would be implemented.”

Mercury here

ABC: Dick Adams loses all faith:

A federal Labor MP is considering his political options as a result of the state government’s imminent carve-up of Forestry Tasmania.

A leaked Forestry Tasmania email claims the Government will transfer the company’s non-commercial functions to the Environment Department, despite assurances otherwise.

The Deputy Premier, Bryan Green, will address the parliament today.

Lyons Labor MHR Dick Adams says he is bewildered and angry and has accused the Tasmanian Greens of successfully dismantling Forestry Tasmania.

He also accused the Labor Government of helping them and of abandoning ALP philosophy.

In a statement, Mr Adams says he is devastated and is “considering his options”.

He has questioned how he can “be a member of a state organisation in which he has no confidence”, and “help to fund a government in which he’s lost all faith”.

• Hakan Ekstrom, Wood Resource Quarterly: Sawlog prices down worldwide

Sawlog prices trended downward worldwide in past 12 months; with the Global Sawlog Price Index falling 11% from the 2Q/11 to the 2Q/12, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly

Wood costs have fallen the past year for many sawmills in the major lumber-producing countries worldwide. The Global Sawlog Price Index was US$82.90 per cubic meter in the 2Q/12, which was 11.5% lower than in the 2Q/11, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. Sawlog prices have declined the most in Europe the past year.

Download the full article: GTWMU_Global_sawlog_prices_2Q_2012.pdf

URS REPORT CONFIRMS NEED FOR FORESRY TAS RESTRUCTURE

Nick McKim MP
Greens Leader
Wednesday, 29 August 2012


The Tasmanian Greens today said that a restructure of Forestry Tasmania was essential to ensure that no more public money is diverted from essential government services to prop up a failed government business enterprise.

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said that the Greens’ preference was Option 3 in the Stage 2 Report of the URS Strategic Review of Forestry Tasmania, which would have returned both the commercial and non-commercial functions of Forestry Tasmania to government departments.

Mr McKim said that the Greens were prepared to accept Option 2, as recommended by URS, on the basis that it was a major improvement on the current structure.

“The second option proposed by URS is very clear about returning the native forest and reserves currently vested in Forestry Tasmania to their rightful owners, the Tasmanian people.”

“The URS Report has independently confirmed what the Greens have been saying about Forestry Tasmania for years.”

“The Minister for Forests has confirmed that Forestry Tasmania is losing up to $35 million per year, which is money that is being ripped out of public services like schools, hospitals, public housing, and services for Tasmanians living with disabilities.”

“We will not allow one single dollar allocated in this year’s contingency fund in the State Budget to flow to Forestry Tasmania, except to facilitate the restructure as recommended in URS.”

“The Greens will not support the contingency fund propping up a business-as-usual model for FT, or to subsidise woodchip exports.”

“Finally we now have a forest policy from the Liberal party. The only problem is that it involves wasting more taxpayer funds that could be spent on delivering essential services to the Tasmanian people.

“The Liberals are in the ridiculous position of supporting business as usual, which means sinking up to $35 million a year for the next five years into a failed GBE.”

Read the Stage 2 report on the Treasury website here:
http://www.treasury.tas.gov.au/domino/dtf/dtf.nsf/LookupFiles/FT-Stage2-Redacted.pdf/$file/FT-Stage2-Redacted.pdf

Stage 1 Report is on the Forestry Tasmania website here:
http://www.forestrytas.com.au/assets/0000/0993/Forestry_Tasmania_StrategicReview_-_Extract_of_Stage_1_Report_Redacted.pdf

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49 Comments

49 Comments

  1. David Obendorf

    September 2, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Dinah Arndt wrote in the Examiner [1 Sept 2012 – [i]Forestry Tasmania fights back when chips are down[/i]:

    “FT corporate affairs manager Ken Jeffreys knew that by sending an email out to all staff the letter wouldn’t stay “in-house” for long.

    That forced the government to rush out an announcement the next day, highlighted differences within cabinet and Labor and shifted attention from debate on same-sex marriage, which Labor and the Greens consider a policy winner.

    Mr Jeffreys wanted the news out there, and he got the coverage.

    While FT, industry and Mr Dick Adams pull the state in one direction, the Greens strive just as hard for all forest reserves to come under direct government control.

    For now, the State government is sitting on the fence, but it will have to make a call on who is in charge of the state’s wood production.”

    Another skirmish with the Labor Party facing some electoral backlashes and the perception that the Tasmanian Greens in Cabinet have the wood on them!

  2. TGC

    September 1, 2012 at 1:47 am

    #47 Fear!

  3. pilko

    August 30, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Its pretty obvious leaked FT email was nothing more than a political attack.

    I’ve heard Ken Jeffereys & Bob Gordon claim that 80-85% of Tasmanian voted for the Labor & Liberal – Parties they claim are both unanimous in their support of the Timber Industry.

    Yet now Jeffreys wants to claim that 2 Greens rolled 6 Labors politicians in cabinet. How did the Greens manage that if the Labor party are unanimous in their support of the Timber industry?

    And why havent any of the local media asked Mr Jeffreys & supporters of his political attack that question?

  4. Russell

    August 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Re #40
    What’s the ridiculous point of having an election? You know as well as everyone else that both sides of politics in Tasmania are exactly the same.

    What is needed is a separate referendum if you want true answers, or better still a Royal Commission.

  5. Gordon Bradbury

    August 30, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Has anyone else discovered the hidden message in the URS #2 report? It is hugely embarressing which I guess is the reason why direct identification and discussion of it has been deliberately ommitted. But the shadow of the message is clearly there. I can’t say anymore as it will damage my cause. Maybe like the Nixon Report, in 20 years time someone will look back and see it. Hindsight is always the clearest.

  6. Mark

    August 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    A question for any MP who may wish to delve: If Ken Jeffreys gains promption to CEO or MD of FT what increase in superannuation entitlements will he receive at the public’s expense for the few remaining years prior to his own retirement?

  7. Frank Strie

    August 29, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    As a follow on of #23

    The contrast to the 2010 to 2012 elitist approach and secretive IGA process can be found in this statement of Common Trust:

    “We wanted to start an organization where people met on the same side of the table, instead of across barricades. Maybe this all seemed radical, improbable. But our ideas began to click with many people: forest owners, managers, investors and conservationists who joined with us to form the Pacific Forest Trust.”

    —Connie Best, PFT Co-Founder
    Why does this example not get the support of the IGA Elite and the Parliamentarians of all directions in Tasmania?
    Why?

    Is the situation in Tasmania still not hard enough?
    Are the players still too smart to ignore responsible alternative examples from others?

    Are they still to ignorant of the world out there?
    How much longer will this waste on our Island continue?

    Read for yourself of what is possible with honesty and openess and responsible collaboration beyond cheap party politics and vested interests:

    https://www.pacificforest.org/about_us.html

    Since 1993, the Pacific Forest Trust (PFT) has been dedicated to conserving and sustaining America’s vital, productive forest landscapes. Working with forest owners, communities and an array of partners, we advance innovative, incentive-based strategies to safeguard our nation’s diverse forests. In so doing, we’re ensuring forests continue to provide people everywhere — from rural communities to urban centers — with a wealth of benefits, including clean water, sustainably harvested wood, green jobs, wildlife habitat and a livable climate.

    Working to Retain, Sustain and Gain

    The Pacific Forest Trust (PFT) is working to Retain our nation’s forests by raising awareness of how all Americans benefit from our great and diverse forests – yet how increasingly threatened these woodlands are by expanding real estate development and other forces.

    We make a difference on the ground by directly conserving critical forestlands in the Pacific Northwest, while advising forest owners about conservation strategies across the country. PFT pioneered the use of working forest conservation easements that ensure forests stay as forests – and are well managed for all the benefits they can provide. And we help protect the integrity of important publicly-owned forests and parks by conserving neighboring private lands threatened by development.

    Recognized as a national leader in sustainable forestry and conservation, to date we have conserved more than 50,000 acres of forestland in California, Oregon and Washington valued at more than $160 million, including 40,000 acres conserved with working forest conservation easements.

    The Pacific Forest Trust helps Sustain forests by employing state-of-the-art forest stewardship practices on the thousands of acres we manage in the Pacific West. Through national advocacy, outreach and sharing of our expertise we also promote exemplary forest management so people across the United States will better understand that good forestry is key to the conservation of nature.

    The Pacific Forest Trust also helps us all Gain from working forests by developing new, practical and cost-effective ways to encourage forest owners and managers to protect the natural qualities of their forests. We advance policies that provide landowners with new sources of revenue and other financial incentives for conservation and stewardship of their forests’ natural values, including increasing the storage of carbon dioxide (CO2), protecting our water supplies and enhancing habitat for fish and wildlife.

    PFT has been recognized for our work in creating a “green” forest economy for the 21st century, with new markets that help conserve forest landscapes and the jobs they provide in the face of an increasingly competitive world. Recent accolades for our work include the 2009 U.S. EPA Climate Protection Award, the 2008 James L. Irvine Foundation Leadership Award and the 2008 Kingsbury Browne Leadership Award. In 2010 PFT was awarded accredited status by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, joining a select group of 90 organizations to have qualified for accreditation since the program was launched in 2008. …

    The last question: “What will it take”?

  8. Pete Godfrey

    August 29, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    What the F— are the FT supporters on. Whatever it is is was not approved by the pharmaceutical board.
    For ages FT have been whinging about the terrible outlays they have to manage the reserves.
    Now the reserves will be taken off them and they can stick to managing production forests.
    I would have thought that was a plus.
    For George to say that this is the end of the deal because industry have got nothing for all their troubles. What a Joke!
    Since when has $276 million been nothing.
    Then there is the chairman of FIAT who has benefitted now from $2.25 million + of subsidies to move over to milling smaller logs.
    It appears that the best way to get on in the timber industry is to employ a good submission writer.
    This industry is a joke, we keep bailing them out and paying them to do the same thing every few years. And they don’t do it.
    The industry should have re tooled when they were paid to do so under the TCFA.
    Durability does not come from a lack of oppostion it comes from good business decisions, fair and sensible practices and an open and honest attitude.
    Score for FT on those 0

  9. Russell

    August 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Re #35
    Sounds like Tasmanian Labor is just splitting FT up as they have every public utility (ie: energy, water, etc.) which will just see more unwanted public servants on the teat, more paperwork and more costs to the tax-payer. It won’t help the timber industry one iota.

    This splitting up of agencies has failed the public miserably with the utilities charging more and more and it will further kill off the timber industry with more and more costs making it totally uncompetitive without even bigger Government subsidies than in the past.

    This is no more than a brain-dead Tasmanian Labor Government once more looking after its free-loading incompetent maaaaaates’ jobs and putting them on public service contracts.

    Royal Commission now!

  10. John boy

    August 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Forget about all the above posts ,have an election and we will see the true feelings of the people of Tasmania and not just the one sided views of the bigoted posts on this website.

  11. Pilko

    August 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    #33 So you will be voting for Hodgman then George.

    And under a Hodgman Government all your mates in the industry who recieved public money as a result of the forests deal will get to keep the money as well and no forest lock-ups.

    Will you be advocating that all that commonwealth money be kept if there are no new reserves or advocating that industry do the right thing and Give it Back?

  12. Gordon Bradbury

    August 29, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    It is certainly curious that the “durability” of the IGA now hinges upon who manages the forests, rather than on the fact that the ongoing financial viability of FT is questionable at best REGARDLESS of who manages the forests (URS Report). The taxpayer will be pumping millions of dollars more into the industry over the coming decade(s).

    At what point in the future does profitability start to become important for the forest industry?

    What is the criteria/trigger that will tell a future Government that the industry has reached profitablity, or has past the point of no return and to turn off the life support systems?

    That to me is a far more important question.

    If FT is finally to become fully commercial it has to be given very clear performance targets, and very clear governance standards. If those targets are not met then a “sunset clause” needs to be activated. Having Forestry Tasmania on permanent “life support” is not a durable option.

  13. David Obendorf

    August 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    George, State Labor is now between a rock and a very hard place… I’d say right now, it’s not easy being Bryan [i]Green[/i].

    Stability in their Coalition Government with the Tasmanian Greens is everything at the minute and ‘conscience makes cowards of them all’.

    They all know what’s going on here… they all know.

    The Liberals, old-guard Labor MPs and the new guard ones; and of course the Tasmanian Greens.

    This has been building like a slow tsunami for a long time… embarrassment and bluff has worked but the foresty money had to run out and dirty hospitals, increasing violence, suicides in forestry communities, insolvency and the levels of personal, company and government indebtedness have now caused everyone to take pause.

    A ‘Port Arthur moment’ perhaps!

    I believe the greatest failing was that psychologists, and grief & conflict resolution professionals were not involved in this reconciliation process two years ago!

  14. Mark

    August 29, 2012 at 11:11 am

    #29, you have previously called for new management att Ft and now support the media spin doctor from the old guard. What can he possibly bring to the table apart from more of the same. Ditto for the Board. It’s typical of people when confronted with change to retreat to the past.

  15. David Obendorf

    August 29, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Bryan Green explains the Forestry Tasmania decision
    29/08/2012 Drive Program ABC 936
    Deputy Premier Bryan Green joined Louise Saunders to discuss the details of the shakeup of Forestry Tasmania.
    He says FT’s core role would be to manage commercial forest activities to supply Tasmania’s timber industry, with most non- commercial functions being transferred to other Government departments.

    http://blogs.abc.net.au/tasmania/2012/08/bryan-green-explains-the-forestry-tasmania-decision.html?site=hobart&program=hobart_drive

    Excerpt:
    Louise Saunders: Do you agree that sorting out the management of land is probably one of the most crucial issues given that there is a risk of FIAT again walking away from the IGA process?

    Bryan Green: Yeah, it is. And ahhm… look… I said in the Parliament and ahhm… I absolutely respect Glen Britton [chairman of FIAT and Managing Director of Britton Timbers] and FIAT and ahhm… I, I asked them to consider what I said with respect to how we need to get a commercial enterprise running and, and… we are open to ahhm… working through those processes with the industry… and, of course ahh… ahh… Forestry Tasmania. And we will provide the necessary resources for that consultation and discussion to take place. And I think Parliament has taken a big step….

  16. Whoknows-whocares?

    August 29, 2012 at 7:26 am

    “The Greens will not support the contingency fund propping up a business-as-usual model for FT, or to subsidise woodchip exports.”
    Nick McKim MP
    Greens Leader
    Wednesday, 29 August 2012

    What about: “subsidise log and pellets exports?”

  17. William Boeder

    August 29, 2012 at 4:11 am

    So Bryan Green was forcefully put into the position of “them or me,” so he quickly but tactfully severed his steel-cable ties to his former best mates at Forestry Tasmania?
    Soon each of the ignoble nobles on board the F/T gravy train will seek to slip-slide sneak their escape lest they be pilloried in public or be featured in the newspaper press, yet only after the calamitous split-up decision had been made known to the public.
    Will those Silent Silver-tails who purposely sought their lofty sinecures on board the money- ship Forestry Tasmania, (to selectively serve their expensive-charged time right up to the last-razoo moment of their luxuriant lifestyles soon established for themselves whilst aboard this “now publicly known,” abysmally directed wholly unscrupulous non-money ship,) ever be made accountable for their atrocious failing ways to properly direct the hazardous route they had so given to this State GBE?
    Where now lay the regulatory ordered superannuation monies of the humble employees?

    (Speak not to me of a damned provision, speak to me only of crisp folding money!)
    Do not hope to read of the biographical details of these (now better recognized, as the grossly inept yet expensively-sinecured moral tumble-downed,) directing architects, each of whom had pecuniarily prospered abiding his journey term at the helm of this now gutted and broken death-like cankerous State Government Business Enterprise?

    Once the most recognized and revered money-ship, GBE Forestry Tasmania.

    Where looms the next most sniff-snortingly sought-after lumbering money-ship that will have available its generous sinecures?

  18. George Harris aka woodworker

    August 29, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Well, that just about does it for the negotiated peace deal! Who is still expecting the industry side to cave in and agree to more reserves now???
    Peg Putt is showing no sign of backing off, so there is no durability, and for most in the negotiations, that is the thing sought most of all. Forget your new reserves!
    Most of all, the state Labor members need to go and take a reality check. No one in the Greens/ENGO’s is going to thank them, much less give them a first vote preference, they are all expecting it as something that should be given up for nothing! Meanwhile their traditional support is deserting them in droves, and now wouldn’t vote for them in a fit. The Liberals are going to be the beneficiaries, and Labor could find itself beaten into third place, pushed aside by the Greens, who would gladly take the Opposition role. Wake up Labor! You need to pull on a decent split before something happens that robs you of the opportunity. “We were about to dump them” won’t wash with the electorate in that scenario…

  19. Whoknows-whocares?

    August 29, 2012 at 1:21 am

    RE #29: “Bob Gordon who probably wants to retire anyway, who could blame him!” ??
    There are 25 professionals named Bob Gordon in Australia …
    1. Renewables & Environment

    Ho-Ho-Ho
    IT’S a story that Bob Gordon loves to tell, a story that sums up life running FT!

    Bob Gordon’s farewell:
    THE parties have started for Bob Gordon, who retires and some well-known faces turned out for the official farewell of Bob Gordon at Conrad Jupiters Casino
    http://tools.goldcoast.com.au/photo-gallery/photo-gallery-view.php?category_id=6141

  20. dan ferguson

    August 28, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Amazing really, on the one hand Ken Jeffrey’s dismisses as reasonable that Bob Gordon should take scheduled leave at a time the organisation he heads is at a crossroads, then tries to spin as a plus for the taxpayer that 3 board members of the same disfunctional organisation have ‘out of the goodness of their own hearts’ extended their obviously questionable management offerings to the organisation. This at a time when 3 new board members might provide a new outlook into an obviously flawed business model. I mean, isn’t that why a board members tenure is limited, unless officially re-appointed? It sounds to me more like the three stayed on to bury any potential mismanagement issues that might come to light with new blood. Either that (and this might be more believable), no respectable potential FT board member would entertain the offer.

  21. Robin Halton

    August 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    #10 John McDonald thanks for clearing up the fact that Ken Jeffreys is not regarded as a public servant thus clearing up perceived acts of whistle blowing ect.
    It would appear that Ken Jeffreys could be taking the leading role within the forestry restructure framework over Bob Gordon who probably wants to retire anyway, who could blame him!
    Ken Jeffreys in my view has shown the courage to be forthright and show up the incompetent clot of a Forests Minister Bryan Green who has forsaken his responsibilities, instead has become no more than a stage prop for the Greens.
    I bet that FT employess from around the State would be “rolling” in laughter, bloody ripper Ken keep up the good work.
    As an ongoing commercial concern dont hold your breath as Tasmania unlike Victoria who retains established capacity for pulping hardwood at its Maryvale Mill as well as export wood chipping facilities at Portland has far more capacity to remain financially accountable to the Victorian government.
    FT plus private investors are lumbered with a huge hardwood plantation estate with no forseeable economic use for the resource.
    Globally the picture for pulpwood is facing oversupply, sawlog prices have already dropped.
    Tasmania with a limited market for its forest products, is contracted to WSA’s till 2027.
    Point of sale price by FT to the processors will have to reflect the going market value of the sawn/peeled product within in a highly competitive and cut throat global economy in which we all have to exist.

  22. Garry Stannus

    August 28, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    We went to K Mart on the way home from work. That meant passing by Becks Hardware – Launcestonians will remember how it used to be Gunns Mitre 10 – and as I passed by, I (momentarily) reflected on how far the once mighty company had fallen. You don’t see the name around any more. I wouldn’t know, because I rarely watch TV, and if I do it’s SBS or ABC, but I’d imagine that tonight’s weather is no longer proudly brought to you by Gunns. Perhaps I’m wrong in this … who knows!? I looked over, across the car park, just to make sure that I hadn’t just been dreaming, saw the Becks sign, saw that it wasn’t Gunns Mitre 10 after all and then I glanced over along the river towards ‘Head Office’, which now looks pretty deserted. From that distance (given the embankment) I couldn’t actually see the buildings, but I did catch a glimpse of the steam coming out of one of their chimney stacks just beyond it.

    How the Empire has unravelled!

    Now it is Forestry Tasmania that is in the cart. Being brought by tumbril to the place of public execution. And yet, I fear they may somehow escape. How much better it would be to totally reject the GBE as a commercial enterprise! To abolish FT full stop! To reform the poisonous plantation practices and to migrate contractors into Parks and Wildlife which would have a Forestry Division dedicated to preserving and restoring our native forests.

    The industry downturn: Wood-chipping our native forests. That was criminal. And oh so many got on the gravy train. They simply did not care, or if they did, they care more about lifestyle than the planet. Such logic.

    Mr Jeffreys in referring to the suggestion that a Head of Agency be appointed to the FT Board remarks:

    This “politicisation” of the board runs counter to good corporate governance practice of maintaining an independent board operating at arms length from government.

    I, and many, many others would make the observation that FT could no longer be trusted. That it can no longer be trusted and that it must no longer be trusted. Look at the way FT ‘white-ant’ed the IGA process. How they created/extended a rash of wood supply agreements through to 2027, knowing that the IGA process was committed to honouring them.

    It’s not as if we suddenly and unreasonably withdrew our support from the poor old loyal Forestry Tas. We have resisted woodchipping our native forests for decades, year by year. And what did we get? Abuse, jeers, arrests, lives on hold. What did they get? Maseratis, silk ties, holidays in the middle of winter and big bucks. Woodchipping began with a lie. ‘To use the forest waste’. Oh, if only that had been true.

  23. Mark

    August 28, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    #22 is correct where the government has neatly allowed FT to remove most of its expenditure in its administration arm while retaining “commercial-in-confidence” and avoidance of “freedom of information” legislation in its commercial arm.

    This new look will allow a few cooked book profits in future years by the commercial arm (personally, I believe FT will still fail its high jump attempt over a lowered bar).

  24. Mark

    August 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    #10, so the government should not transfer staff from FT to DPI because they are not public servants and you will demand this of the government? Playing with words #10.

  25. anonymous

    August 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Ken was the PR and “enforcer” for both Bacon & Lennon. What do you reckon has changed since he went to the Argentinian enclave of the fallen Reich known as FT. The release is pure politics, in my guess orchestrated by Green with the connivance of FT to put pressure on Lara.

    Stay strong Lara; put a stake through the heart of FT and then make sure it is dead buried and cremated. Although that may not have worked for Workchoices.

  26. lmxly

    August 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Ken Jeffreys is being loose with the truth when he says that the URS report ‘marginally favoured option two”.
    What it actually says is “taking account of the full range of criteria, Option 2 stands ahead of Option 1 overall, as the most appropriate business model option for the management of Tasmania’s State forests and the Government’s role in the forestry sector’ (Recommendations, p.xii)

    ( http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/article/download-full-doc-read-for-yourself-strategic-review-of-forestry-tasmania-r/ )

    Given this recommendation, if the Cabinet decided to adopt anything other than Option 2, it would have rejected the advice of its own independent consultant, and the only organisation that would have the form to have ‘rolled’ Bryan Green on this would be FT itself.
    But it might have been a smart move to have the Bobster offshore when the news was broken to FT via Jeffreys. And it was no doubt his ‘heavy heart’ that dropped the lead balloon to the media. What else do you do when you can no longer control the inside game?

  27. Frank Strie

    August 28, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    I was watching and listening again to the unfinished FT issues based on the URS 2 report.

    What is obvious that the how is still not addressed.
    The debates and arguments in Parliament sound like a spoiled Kindergarten group with hyperactive, sugar spiked kids.

    What about the plantations I ask?
    What is the future management of the former forests that during the 1997 to 2010 conversion madness were turned into unsustainable tree crops in our water catchments?

    With all forests to be managed under a department, the hardwood plantations may be seen as a “given”, as “lost” for ever and a day.
    How would this work in reality?
    Privatise these unsustainable tree crops? Do they think the battle for chemical free and clean water and healthy landscapes should continue?
    What about this approach – Stewardship Forestry?
    What is it?
    “Stewardship forestry” is the art and science of managing forests to provide the full range of goods and services that society has come to expect from them. These include wood products, of course. But they also include fish and wildlife habitat, drinking water, scenery, recreation and the ability to safely absorb and store greenhouse gas emissions. The best forests for providing this range of public benefits are those with a diverse natural structure of native species, different-aged trees, standing snags, down wood and complex ecological processes – in short, many of the characteristics we associate with older forests.

    Stewardship forestry employs management and harvest techniques that foster these qualities.

    Today, many once-natural forests have been turned into simplified tree plantations subject to frequent harvest. Other forests are being set aside altogether and are not being managed at all. Fortunately, owners of private forestlands don’t have to choose between these two extremes. Most don’t wish to do the former and can’t afford to do the latter.

    Increasing numbers of forestland owners are conserving the ecology and aesthetics of their woodlands while still harvesting trees at a profit. They use selective harvest methods that leave enough old trees, snags and other “structure” in place for the natural ecosystem to prosper.

    Forestry experts agree – management approaches that are most likely to succeed are those that integrate ecological and economic objectives, along with up-to-date information on forest ecosystems and how they work. Indeed, today’s forests are increasingly vulnerable, as global warming changes rainfall patterns while rates of disease and pest infestation rise. Stewarding these complex, vibrant ecosystems to be more resilient and adaptable is more important than ever to the bottom line of working forests. –

    More: https://www.pacificforest.org/What-Is-Stewardship-Forestry.html

  28. Andrew Wadsley

    August 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    This also neatly solves the problem of the superannuation liability, as most employees super can now be transferred into the State government (unfunded) scheme.

  29. Robin Halton

    August 28, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Ken Jefferies, very much a pat on the back for you.
    As a now retired Tech Forester I can absolutely assure you that your remaining contingent of staff members within FT have been waiting for this show of exemplary leadership by yourself.
    Your words actually describe the Forest Minister Bryan Green as a blundering imbercile who is totally incapable of upholding his portfolio, good on you!
    Most would agree too that the State Government is now at a cross roads as to whether it is capable of remaining in power till March 2014, as it looks more unlikely by the day!
    As we should be approaching the final stages of the Interim Forest Agreement some time in September when the Forest Industry will determine the outcome, the Labor/ Green power sharing arrangement will be tested to exhaustion.
    Ken, thank god your response was timely, to the point and I would expect to be much appreciated by the broader Tasmanian community.

  30. William Boeder

    August 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Bob Gordon of Forestry Tasmania has contiually used the reference of the costs incurred with its burden of responsibilities to attend to the non-commercial activities incumbent upon this GBE, as one of the main causes for F/Ts annual operating losses.

    Apparently he has referred to this aspect of forest activity in his defences each time he is called in to explain and or answer to continuing losses that have now become the hallmark of this GBE.

    The decision to split Forestry Tasmania leaving them to pursue their logging activities thus to be solely engaged in the Commercial only logging operations, may present itself as the best outcome for all concerned, yet could still create further havocs by their eager exploitive looting and sacking of Tasmania’s HCV and Old Growth Native Forests.

    Currently this arm of Forestry Tasmania is kept busy sourcing and supplying timber (or specific whatever grade logs,) for Ta Ann holdings, but let’s not forget the piss poor prices paid for these forested products by Ta Ann?

    My assessment of this strategy of simply relying on sales revenues, (while defraying or flick-passing most all other costs associated in this logging free-for-all, to the DPIPWE,) that this may, “via some sort of dynamic elasticated accounting practices,” create some flashy paper profits, yet could still cost this State dearly by allowing an unrestrained continuation to Forestry Tasmania’s logging pursuits, (so to perpetuate the F/T bag of tricks and expensive indulgences,) that has kept this GBE hierarchy in comfort for as long as it has.

    The passage of time will e’er be the judge, as to this governmenmt decision, “in not removing entirely those non-accountable predatory upper-level individuals that have up till now woefully directed this GBE into its failed flat ruinously expensive repose of today.”

  31. Andrew Lohrey

    August 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Dick Adams should accept that global markets are changing Forestry Tasmania not protesters.

    On August 20 the Financial Review said this:

    ‘The usual rules of politics don’t seem to apply to Forestry Tasmania. This government business enterprise has a long history of public support. But the facts are that Forestry Tasmania, which is 100 per cent owned by the Tasmanian taxpayer, has lost $435 million in the past two years, selling something it never paid for.

    In 2010, the management of Forestry Tasmania lost $306 million. Admittedly, it managed to turn things around a bit in 2011, registering a loss of $129 million. That’s nearly $1000 per Tasmanian.

    It gets worse. A closer look at Forestry Tasmania’s annual reports reveals a large, and steadily growing, unfunded liability for employee superannuation.

    In 2011, the deficit stood at $122 million, up from $99 million in 2008.’

  32. Pete Godfrey

    August 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    You can split FT into 24 or 437. It is all meaningless if the underpinning policies are not rewritten: Genuine tripple bottom line, which in Tasmania means prioritising the ecological component which then assured a continuous wood supply togther with intact ecosystems. That in turn leads to jobs a prosperous timber economy and the assurance of biodiversity along with guaranteed quality water supplies.

    In order to do that FT would need to reduce its acitivities to supervised damage control until the new directions are set up in law.

    Horse before cart, not mucking around with painting the spokes!
    Posted by Peter Brenner on 28/08/12 at 03:27 PM

    Re FT: The split doesn’t go nearly far enough but is likely to be as much sanity in the management of the state’s forestry industry as we’ll see, if indeed it eventuates at all. FT, soulless creature that it is, it like the undead, extremely difficult to kill, and I wonder if the present government really has the will and the strength to drive the requisite stake (E. nitens, of course) through its heart. Then the Liberals will assume government at the next election and put it back together again—we shift from Count Dracula to Dr Frankenstein’s monster.
    Posted by RJ Peak on 28/08/12 at 03:37 PM

    ! Trouble is, the whole forestry edifice is imploding while the government is not offering a vision for the future. And the Opposition as a Government would be a regressive step. Like hitting the

  33. Gordon Bradbury

    August 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    If Dick Adams has an alternative plan for FT I’d like to hear what it is. Surely “business as usual” is not an option. The State Auditor General has already made that perfectly clear. And The Mercury did a very good editorial on the subject back in September 2011:

    http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2011/09/24/33155_editorial.html

    So what is your plan Mr Adams?

  34. Neil Smith

    August 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Russell (#7) makes what has always been a good point about FT’s financial culpability.

    Ludicrous is the part of Ken Jeffrey’s letter that goes “FT has been primarily concerned with its ability to return a profit and to act commercially under the model adopted by government. The board has reservations that the model proposed will deliver that outcome.”

    Rather shot himself in the foot there. If their “primary concern” was to return a profit, surely their obvious lack of success in that regard should tell him something about their current “model”?

    I suppose the board has NO reservations about keeping to the current model somehow magically returning a profit? Ha ha.

    More likely they just don’t damn well care. As long as they can keep their bloody great big empire profits are irrelevant if the subsidies keep coming.

  35. Mike Adams

    August 28, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Does this actually mean that Dick Adams will resign?? Gosh!

  36. helen hutchinson

    August 28, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    The big picture that we are talking here, is not about losing a forest industry, but making it profitable. The “leaked” email outlines a situation where Forestry Tasmania continues to exist but in a reduced role. It was the preferred recommendation of URS.
    Just a quick look at an earlier TasTimes report from the Australia Institute shows just how dire the situation is. Let me remind you. The report says that the forestry industry employs about only 2% in total of the Tasmanian work force and contributes only 3% to the gross economy. Native forests contribute about half that. At present Forestry Tas loses $50,000 for every worker, and receives handouts equal to $50,000 per worker. The Australia Institute says that we would be better off paying them a social security allowance!

    Forestry Tasmania has obviously not carried out the part of their remit which requires them to make a profit and in the current economic climate we can no longer afford to keep giving them charity. It was a majority Cabinet decision and it is time such a decision was made. It is in the best interests of the future of Tasmania. As Einstein said: Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.

  37. Steve

    August 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I have to agree with Mark (#’s 3 & 4). This is a very strange letter from a public servant who’s job is surely to support the position of the Government, whether or not he personally agrees with it.
    If he feels he can’t do that, he should walk.

  38. Karl Stevens

    August 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    All McKim had to do was ‘facilitate’ some ‘hush money’ to certain people to achieve his goal. Thats the way forestry has been done in the past and I’m guessing thats how it is being done now.

  39. john Hayward

    August 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    What did Ken expect?

    FT has all but declared itself to be independent of any external authority, while receiving hundreds of millions in public subsidies, which it refuses to account for! His CEO recently attempted to hand 570,000ha of public land to some of his associates!

    Getting quietly tipped off the gravy train after an eighteen year rampage of looting and vandalism hardly amounts to an “execution”. Blaming the two Greens for a Cabinet decision is, we hope, one of the last demonstrations of FT’s famed honesty we are forced to witness.

    I suspect that the Federal Govt was also getting embarrassed by the weird sounds continually coming from their Tassie basement. Bryan probably decided it was either him or you.

    But don’t despair, Ken. This being Tas, you, Bobster, and the rest of the gang will probably soon be put in charge of the Treasury, or the Health Dept, or something. The plum Ta Ann spot is already taken.

    John Hayward

  40. John McDonald

    August 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    re #3: Ken Jeffreys is not a public servant, and Forestry Tasmania is not a government department. It is a GBE, which (per the Act) is an independent corporation controlled by an independent board, reporting to parliament but not directed by the relevant minister. Employees, including Mr Jeffreys, are not subject to the State Service Act and the sanctions that Act contains.

  41. David Obendorf

    August 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Phil Parson askes: “Where would this industry be had it taken the Latham offer of $800M 8 years ago or ensured a different path when it negotiated a future inder the 20 year RFA in 1997.”

    I can tell you one thing Phil, that some common sense and leadership 8 years ago would have greatly reduced the number of Tasmanians who committed [i]suicide[/i] [took their own lives] and the consequent family grief that emerged as a result of this slow, debt-ridden, pernicious power game.

  42. David Obendorf

    August 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Ken Jeffreys of all people as the unexpected ‘public whistleblower’ is a new concept to come to terms with.

    What a MAD place Tasmania really is!

    For a public servant of his calibre to expose a double-cross by not just his employer (the Labor-Green Government) but specifically by his government boss (Mr Green) shows that gatekeepers on information [like Ken] can become whistleblowers of deceptive conduct within Government.

    Whether the Government goes on a ‘witch hunt’ looking for the actual leaker in FT is a moot point. Usually government like to come down hard on whistleblowing because it exposes their misconduct, but in this case they thought Ken was “one of them”!

    From Mr Jeffreys’ memo Bryan Green has double crossed, deceieved and turned 180 degrees… untrustwrthy

    And the lesson for us all: Never trust a politician with power… or wanting more power.

  43. Russell

    August 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    It reads to me like FT still thinks its the Government’s boss.

    It all also reads like a lot of puff and wind and the usual smoke’n’mirrors as opposed to what’s actually happening.

    FT has itself to blame for its annual woeful financial position and is committing suicide as a direct result of its spiteful to all others administration rather than being led to the gallows.

  44. TasBrain

    August 28, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Nothing surprising here. This is what McKim said would happen months ago. Perhaps the small surprise is that something Nick said would happen did happen.

  45. phill Parsons

    August 28, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Power centres are being reshufffled as the basis for the forest industry shifts from natural forests into more managed and intensive models.

    These models will need greater oversight to ensure the States biodiversity is not degraded further. [You can tell me its not been biodegraded when the extinct are rediscovered].

    I am unsure if the employees are unhappy. some will have a future and all should have some superannuation, something not assured before the $35M was set aside in the budget to fund this transition.

    I understand thet the States that break even or make money from their forests have adopted a similar models as the importance of their forest industries within their economies has changed.

    Where would this industry be had it taken the Latham offer of $800M 8 years ago or ensured a different path when it negotiated a future inder the 20 year RFA in 1997.

    Ponderable but unanswerable, all we have is the end game of the forest industries preferred model brought to you by the old power centres and explains why they must go if there is to be forestry.

  46. Mark

    August 28, 2012 at 2:12 am

    BTW if there is such a distance in communication as Ken Jeffreys suggests then he and Bob Gordon should resign as they have clearly lost the support of government.

  47. Mark

    August 28, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Put this into perspective…Ken Jeffreys is a public servant and media spokesperson for a government department. Are there other examples of political opinions being offered by public servants without retribution

  48. David Obendorf

    August 28, 2012 at 1:21 am

    Just the latest skirmish in a long tragic history of set ups and goadings from both sides of the war on forests.

    This time a leaking email from FT management that gives Messrs Britton and Edwards from FIAT all the more reason to pause or walk away from this forestry agreement.

    When Nick McKim told the Tasmanian Greens Party at the weekend he wanted to take power, he wasn’t kidding.

    This is a Mutuallly Assured Destruction [MAD] scenario playing out; both sides still want to [b]win[/b].

  49. TGC

    August 28, 2012 at 1:01 am

    None of this should really come as a surprise. The scenario is probably something like this:
    The Greens can understand that their time in the Cabinet sun is drawing to a close: it’s vital therefore that they squeeze the absolute most out of dissolute Labor by the simple expedient of threatening- seriously- to pull the plug on the peesent arrangement. Labor will always capitulate- it’s ‘genetic’
    The Greens big goals are the ending of forestry in Tasmania and the closing down of FT” : so-called ‘marriage equality’- no restrictions on who may ‘marry’ whom: apologies to a range of persons for perceived wrongs-most ‘committed by Labor governments!: severe restrictions on mining in Tasmania- and almost anything else that the Greens want to inflict on Tasmanians-now’s the time.

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