Tasmanian Times


Tuesday, Dateline SBS: Hydro, Forestry Tasmania and Sarawak


Thousands of people in the wilderness of Malaysian Borneo are set to lose their homes, as a controversial plan to build a string of huge hydro dams gets under way.

In the state of Sarawak, the Bakun Dam has already flooded an area the size of Singapore, displacing indigenous communities, some of whom say they’ve never received the full compensation they were promised.

On Tuesday’s Dateline, David O’Shea has a special investigation, looking at the relationship between the energy company behind the project and Hydro Tasmania’s contract to work on it.

David also examines links between the logging industry in Sarawak and Tasmania.

In Sarawak, some communities say they’ve been intimidated and threatened in an attempt to force them off their land.

And could Australia’s wilderness also be under threat? Forestry Tasmania has a 20 year contract to supply the same logging company David is investigating in Malaysia.

David meets the campaigners in Borneo and Tasmania, and hears the companies involved deny any wrongdoing.

WATCH – See his investigation on Tuesday’s Dateline at 9.30pm on SBS ONE.

On Tasmanian Times: Ta Ann-backer Abetz visits Sarawak. Sarawak People tell Ta Ann to go … with links to all the earlier articles on this issue

Greens Call for Minister to Recall All Hydro Staff

Kim Booth MP
Greens Energy Spokesperson
Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Tasmanian Greens today called on the Minister for Energy to direct Hydro Tasmania to recall all of its employees currently involved in environmentally and socially destructive dam building practices in Malaysia.

Greens Energy spokesperson Kim Booth MP said Tasmania’s involvement in the environmental destruction and displacement of indigenous people in Sarawak and is to be exposed tonight on the SBS Dateline program.

“The Tasmanian Greens are seriously concerned about the work that Hydro’s consulting arm Entura has been undertaking in Sarawak,’ Mr Booth said.

“We know that the Bakun dam has displaced thousands of families in Sarawak and flooded thousands of square kilometres of land, much of which is critical rainforest.”

“Tasmania has no place getting involved in such shady ventures, and unfortunately we are now in the national and international spotlight for all the wrong reasons.”

“Our office recently received a copy of a letter sent by the chairman of an ENGO in Sarawak called Save Rivers to the company in charge of the project, Sarawak Energy Berhad, expressing concerns about Hydro’s involvement.”

“Save Rivers is extremely concerned about comments contained in Hydro Tasmania’s Annual Report stating that practices in Sarawak reflect ‘how Australia did things a few decades ago’.”

“A Tasmanian taxpayer owned company should not be supporting dodgy environmental and human rights practices, whether it’s in Tasmania or elsewhere in the world.”

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


  1. Pilko

    August 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    #8 Not quite David.

    Today in parliament Bryan Green complained that Datelines Taann/hydro story was incredibly biased and that several parties were talking to the ‘appropriate authorities about the biased dateline program’.
    The loggers have been spitting chips on social media over the dateline story since it aired and no doubt have made reprsentations to govt & opp.

    More to come.

  2. phill Parsons

    August 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    The Lords of the Forest and the Sunday Report program stand in the history like Gay, Gray and the industry outcome under the tutelage of the great leaders of that industry and the government including its GBE.

    Unavoidable and inescapable. Only the spin allows them to make anew the interpretation of the past by the community.

    Now, they are working on a deal that may sacrifice the privately owned forests for tracts of already reserved forest types and establish a regime to oversee it that is byzantine in character but modern in name, the Forests Stewardship Council.

    I look forward to more light being shone in secreted dark places. A right to information is indivisible when public money is involved.

  3. David Obendorf

    August 22, 2012 at 2:10 am

    Pilko [comment #6] could I offer an alternative perspective?

    The Tasmania Inc. oligarch would not like to see their brand Hydro-Ta Ann-Forestry Tasmania image sullied but the days of bolshy arrogance from Bartlett, Aird and Lennon against the ABC 4-Corners expose of three years ago in ‘Lord of the Forests’ is now rather spent. That’s not Lara’s forte and Bryan has shown he’d rather play Neville Chamberlain and pretend that he has achieved ‘peace in out time’.

    Labor had their nose rubbed in the mire enough now… Walker Corp, Gunns Ltd mill, it’s the economy-stupid, Tas unemployment rate, mendicant state labelling, education and mental health stats, administration of public hospitals, etc. They can keep on putting out their clap-trap PR but the business bottom line is making a profit, good public sadministration, reformist policies not hoodwinking and chalatanry. Tasmania now has a reputation as high risk, uncertain; both major partiess in Canberra would be wary.

    FT as a GBE is a black hole of admnistrative disaster; it has been for a long time. It’s day will come.

    The local media the Mercury, ABC and the others will be asked to not take up the Hydro-Ta Ann-Sarawak story and the Government will express no fake indigation. Their media liaison machine seems to have hit the fly paper; too expensive!

    The performance of Mr Roy Adair from Hydro this morning on ABC radio was a re-run of his SBS Dateline presentation last night … predictable smug indifference.

    The bigger problem is there’s only one Kim Booth in the Parliament. The Green Ministers might as well join the Labor Party and be done with it. If there’s a half decent Independent candidate in Denison, that person might give the Greens in that electorate a contest.

  4. TV Resident

    August 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Do all of the leaders of big corporations and polititions have ‘conflicts of interests’??? Evan Rolley, Gerry Geen etc and it seems some pollies as well are on the receiving end of projects that they help through the approvals process. Surely these are all things that the ‘Ethics Commission’ should be sorting out. But then an unethical mob in the parliament pull all of the strings for them as well I guess.

  5. Pilko

    August 21, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    So a rival interstate media network has run a damning (no pun!) report on Hydro Tasmania and TaAnn.

    If history is anything to go by, this is how Tasmanian media coverage of the Hydro/TAann/Sarawak expose’ will be played out.

    The Silver Bodgies will have an apoplectic over the TaAnn/Hydro Sarawak story and a massive hail of complaints will ensue from the Bodgies & Tasmania’s Order of Mates.

    The bodgies & mates will attempt to tie SBS in knots & wear the Dateline program into submission drawing the same sort of pathetic qualified apology that the Bodgies & Mates have successfully wrought from a brow beaten ABC over previous stories that have failed to portray the Tasmanian logging industry as the sustainable & Ethical industry what yooz all know it really is.

    Hopefully SBS is made of sterner stuff and gives the whineing pricks the middle finger.

    In the meantime The Tasmanian Media, led by our erstwhile friends at the ABC will suddenly discover novel concepts like – ” media bias” – “balanced reporting” and ‘the representation of all voices” yada yada yada in relation to the Dateline story coverage of Tasmanian industry.

    Suddenly such concepts will be up for discusssion as the Silver Bodgies, led by the Premier & Eric Abetz attack the Dateline story, David O’Shea and the unfairness of the story.

    Local media coverage of the story will not see Hydro Tasmania, TAann or the Tas govt probed with hard questions, rather the ABC Tasmania will haul Dateline and David O’Shea over the coals as it advocates ‘The Mates’ position. The ABC will ask talkback callers etc if the story was ‘fair’, if ‘all voices were represented’ and ‘all views considered’ yada yada yada.

    The Tasmanian media will suddenly start asking the same questions of Dateline’s coverage that myself & others have been asking of the Tasmanian media’s coverage of stories around big Tasmania industry for many years.

    If history is anything to go by i’ll give very short odds that i’m right.

  6. Factfinder

    August 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm


    Evan. Rolley
    Projects Advisor at Van Diemen’s Land Company
    Location: Tasmania, Australia
    Industry: Farming

    Current: Executive Director at Ta Ann Tasmania
    Projects Advisor at Van Diemen’s Land Company
    Director at Forest and Wood Products Australia
    Director at Tasports
    Consultant and farm manager at Huon River Trading Company

    Past: Secretary at Department of Premier and Cabinet Tasmania
    Managing Director at Forestry Tasmania

    Forestry Tasmania is a Tasmanian State Government Business Enterprise. The business manages 1.5 million hectares of State forest in Tasmania. It has an annual turnover of approximately $200 million.

    FT is internationally recognised as a leader in research on, and management of, native forests and plantations. Sustainable forest management is the key driver for FT’s business and sustainable forests will both ensure longevity of the business and maintain the natural assets. FT, furthermore, manages state forests for optimum community benefit, using environmental best practice to create long-term wealth and employment for Tasmanians.

  7. Russell

    August 21, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Seems as if Evan Rolley was on both sides of the Forestry Tasmania/Ta Ann timber contract, setting up the cheaper than chips resources for his future job.

  8. Factfinder

    August 21, 2012 at 3:38 am


    Veneer lifted on election timing?
    Premier `keen’ to release deal
    A loose-lipped Malaysian businessman has provided the firmest proof yet that Premier Paul Lennon will call an early election. …

    Veneer lifted on election timing?
    BY PHILIPPA DUNCAN , Tuesday, 17 January 2006

    Premier `keen’ to release deal
    A loose-lipped Malaysian businessman has provided the firmest proof yet that Premier Paul Lennon will call an early election.

    The boss of Ta Ann let slip that the State Government had been extra keen to release the good news that his plywood company would invest $60 million in Tasmania to operate two rotary peel veneer mills – one in the Huon and one at Circular Head.

    The mills will create about 100 jobs and convert regrowth eucalypt into thin veneer instead of woodchips.

    A chatty Hamed Sepawi told the media in Hobart yesterday that people had worked to 3am and 4am the last few nights to finalise arrangements for the mills.

    Mr Sepawi then observed that one of the planned mills, the Huon Wood Centre, would be built in Franklin, Mr Lennon’s electorate.

    “So he has a lot of reason to push it,” Mr Sepawi grinned.

    He next noted that the other mill, the Circular Head Wood Centre at Smithton, would be built in Braddon, the electorate of Resource Minister Bryan Green who is responsible for forestry.

    Mr Sepawi next singled out for praise Foresty Tasmania head Evan Rolley, whom he dubbed Captain Evan Rolley for the way he drove his staff to efficiency. “No matter the hour of the night, there was not a time that we could not contact him,” Mr Sepawi said.

    “Thank you, to make us feel so welcome.”

    He said that Foresty Tasmania staff had done “a lot of work and forgone a lot of weekends” to clinch the deal.

    “Thank you,” Mr Sepawi said. “There are so many thank yous I have to make. It takes some time to say thank you to everyone.”

    Mr Lennon then reminded the grateful speaker that the story “had to get to air tonight”.

    “Thank you, Premier Lennon,” Mr Sepawi said.

    And with that Mr Lennon was up from his chair to shake Mr Sepawi’s hand and lead him from the podium.

    Mr Lennon later dismissed questions that he had tried to push the projects ahead to win Labor favours with Franklin and Braddon voters.

    “We commenced developing the site in the Huon and the site at Smithton back in 1998,” he said.

    “Almost eight years ago.

    “Important agreements like this require detailed negotiations.”

    The State election does not have to be held until September but the State Opposition and Tasmanian Greens have their money on Mr Lennon calling an early election.

  9. David Obendorf

    August 21, 2012 at 2:53 am

    If you watch you’ll get to see Evan Rolley in full flight extolling the legitimacy of Ta Ann’s logging in Tasmania. Mr Rolley is captioned as an Executive Director of Ta Ann Tasmania. So Mr Rolley goes from being the CEO of the GBE that brought Ta Ann to Tasmania [Forestry Tasmania] to becoming a hired gun for the Tasmanian Government to becoming an executive for the local company Ta Ann Tasmania. A Top Gun is our Evan!

    I really hope Dr Pullinger (ET Inc.), Mr Bayley (TWS), Mr Schneiders (TWS), Mr Henry (ACF) and Mr Oosting (ex-TWS/GetUp!) watched this program and pondered their involvement with Terry Edwards (FIAT) and the forestry cabal in the forestry negotiations.

    Vica Bayley told Leon Compton on 24 July 2012: “Well look, Ta Ann being part of the future industry for Tasmania is something that everybody has accepted… But certainly Ta Ann is part of the landscape of the timber industry in Tasmania going forward is something we have heard very strongly from the industry. And we realise is something that is going to be necessary.”

    Markets for Change, HVEC, SWST, Code Green, Last Stand and The Observe Tree are the thin green line of courage against this madness.

To Top