Tasmanian Times

Economy

The $30-million-loss-making law unto itself

image
Bryan Green, right, was not told Bob Gordon, left, had been re-appointed …

The departing act of Forestry Tasmania’s old Board in reappointing the Managing Director for five years is an attempt to lock in current attitudes and hold out against inevitable and far reaching changes under a comprehensive restructure designed to remove many of the current functions of the Government Business Enterprise, the Huon Valley Environment Centre said today.

“The reappointment of the current Managing Director of Forestry Tasmania is unacceptable, and seems to have been dropped on the government by the previous Board as a final act of defiance,” said Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber.

“This Managing Director has presided over the loss making enterprise that the Independent Verification Group (IVG) found to have overestimated the forest resource and overcut it, and spent taxpayers money on a sawmill without first telling government,” Jenny Weber said.

“Obviously this reappointment by the disgruntled Board whose Chairman then departed with a big spray against restructuring Forestry Tasmania was an act designed to entrench opposition to change within the organisation,” Jenny Weber said.

“A new appointment for the new times is needed. The government must not allow this reappointment to stand,” Jenny Weber said.

• ANOTHER SLAP IN THE FACE FROM FORESTRY TASMANIA REVEALED
Loss-Making CEO Rewarded With 5 Year Contract

Kim Booth MP
Greens Primary Industries Spokesperson
Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Tasmanian Greens today condemned the decision by the former Forestry Tasmania board to secretly reappoint the Chief Executive Officer Bob Gordon for another five years in the middle of a critical restructure process, without consulting the Minister and on the back of another massive annual loss.

Greens Primary Industries spokesperson Kim Booth MP said the move was one of a long string of attempts by Forestry Tasmania to undermine efforts to find a solution to the crisis facing the industry that did not involve massive, ongoing subsidies.

“It’s unacceptable that the same senior executive who oversaw the loss of nearly $30 million in just one year would be secretly rewarded with a new five year contract, without the Minister’s knowledge,” Mr Booth said.

“This decision appears to have been a parting shot from the former Forestry Tasmania Chairman fired off as part of his stage managed departure, and it needs thorough scrutiny to determine whether and how it can be reversed.”

“The Minister told Parliament he was unaware of Forestry Tasmania board’s decision to reappoint the current CEO (TT here) until after it happened and he has indicated that he will be seeking further advice on the process surrounding the decision.”

“We are urging the Minister to seek legal advice on whether the reappointment of the CEO was lawful, whether proper process was followed and whether it can be overturned in the interests of Tasmania.”

“Forestry Tasmania has effectively charged the Tasmanian taxpayer close to $30 million dollars last year to trash our forests, while thumbing its nose at government policy and undermining efforts to achieve a lasting solution to the industry crisis.”

“The Greens do not believe it is possible to put forestry on a sustainable footing if the agency overseeing the sector is run by the same people who created the old forestry model and have defended it for decades.”

David Obendorf: Neutering the Forest Feral Cat


Newly re-appointed General Manager of Forestry Tasmania [b]Bob Gordon[/b] not biting on Monday.

[i] You don’t need to be Einstein to work out that Ken [Jeffreys] wasn’t the most popular person with Government. … Ken isn’t being dismissed; his position is being made redundant. [/i]

[i] Ahhm… he had a policy disagreement with the Government, ahhm… we need to move on from that; not much point in looking at the past all the time.[/i]

[i] I think Ken has always acted in – what he believes – was in the best interests of Forestry Tasmania. And that’s certainly what my job is, to act in the best interests of Forestry Tasmania, no matter how difficult the decision is. [/i]

[i] Ahhm… I’d much rather look forward Leon and say: ‘Well, what’s happened has happened. Let’s build on that and let’s make sure we don’t get in those positions again’. [/i]

Mr Gordon is building a new Forestry Tasmania with 250 less staff.

On FT access to Gunns plantation assets: [i] ‘Our main interest is growing high value ‘clearwood’ logs where the trees are pruned and thinned’.[/i]

On the IGA: [i]’[FT] will continue to support the process by providing independent, factual scientific information’. [/i]

Postscript: 24 October [i]Forestry Tasmania[/i] tabled its annual report to Parliament – [b]$27.6 million loss[/b]

22 October 2012 – Mornings with Leon Compton ABC 936 Radio

Leon Compton: Seven weeks ago the head of communications at Forestry Tasmania, Ken Jeffreys accused the government of the ‘public execution of FT’. Today it’s his head on the block; it’s his position with the GBE no longer viable after a leaked memo to staff alleging Government policy on forestry was being made by the Greens.

You’ll remember that after that memo was released a few weeks after the chair of Forestry Tasmania quit, he too, … ahh…very disappointed; in fact disgusted at the treatment of our forest steward [FT] the new chairman of FT [Bob Anells] promised no more leaks. I wonder if today’s announcement is part of all that.

Bob Gordon, Managing Director of Forestry Tasmania joins me this morning in the studio. Mr Gordon, good morning.

Bob Gordon: Good morning, Leon.

Leon Compton: Two months ago Mr Jeffreys leaked a memo criticising the Government that became public. Was that the moment his position became untenable.

Bob Gordon: (Sigh)… Well, Ken approached me a couple of weeks ago – after I returned from leave – pointing out that he believed, given that his main role was liaison with the Government, ahhm… that, ahhm… what had happened over the last few months had made that a very difficult relationship and that he believed, and I believed, that the best thing for the organisation would be for Ken’s position to be made redundant. And that’s what I’ve announced to staff last night. Ahhm… Ken will be doing a little bit of tidying up work and handing over some of his roles. Ahh… I’m not replacing Ken’s position one of my other direct reports – the Chief Operating Officer – is also leaving at ahhm… in early November because he’s got another role; a role that he really wants in NSW. So as part of our cost cutting; as part of our drive to make FT return to profitability, ahhm…. Ken will be leaving Forestry Tasmania this week.

Leon Compton: But, this isn’t about cost-cutting; this is about a man whose position was no longer viable within your organisation based on some of his comments that had been made public?

Bob Gordon: Well there was no discussion ahhm… between Ken and the Government or Ken and the Chairman [of FT] about this. Ahhm… it’s not a personal issue. Ken and I have known each other for a long time; it’s a difficult decision. But I think Ken has always acted in – what he believes – was in the best interests of Forestry Tasmania. And that’s certainly what my job is, to act in the best interests of Forestry Tasmania, no matter how difficult the decision is.

And as you’re probably aware, we’ve, ahhm… had over 250 people leave the organisation in the last couple of years. We’ve gone from over 540 staff to be around 320 by the end of this month. And each time we’ve done that we used that as an opportunity to save money.

This was really about… you don’t need to be Einstein to work out that Ken wasn’t the most popular person with Government. He knows that, ahhm…

Leon Compton: As so, to be clear, his position was no longer viable, in terms of handling the job of negotiating with Government? After that memo was leaked; after he’s affectively accused them of having policy run by the Greens, his position was untenable?

Bob Gordon: (Pause)… It would be very difficult for Ken to re-establish the relationship with the Government. And again, I think from Ken’s point of view it’s not a personal issue. Ahhm… he had a policy disagreement with the Government, ahhm… we need to move on from that; not much point in looking at the past all the time. And, ahhm… as I said, Ken and I reached a mutual understanding; his position will be being made redundant. I will not be filling that position; I will not be filling the position of Chief Operating Officer, and hopefully we can, ahhm… re-establish a good working relationship with the Government.

Leon Compton: How can a Government Business Enterprise that turns over tens of millions of dollars a year not have a head of Communications?

Bob Gordon; (Sigh)… Well we didn’t (chuckles) when I first took on the job nearly 6 years ago (2006). There was a small communications unit, ahh… Ken’s role also included tourism. And as you’ve probably been aware we’ve leased out, ahhm… a couple of our tourism operations; so that they’re not actually run by FT any more. Our Tarkine Forest Adventures is run by an experienced tourism couple and we’ve leased out some of the operations at the Maydena Adventure hub as well. Hollybank and the Airwalk still return a profit and Ken has done a great job with his staff turning those around. So I’ll have tourism reporting to other parts in the general management team and I’ll take a more prominent role in the communications role.

Leon Compton: His job is actually to communicate your strategy, not to make it up himself. Is Ken Jeffreys actually being dismissed for expressing your views on the quality of forestry decision-making in this Government?

Bob Gordon: Ken isn’t being dismissed; his position is being made redundant. That was an agreed position between Ken and I… (pause)… so as I said he approached me about three weeks ago, and as I said you don’t need to be Einstein to work out that Ken’s relationship with the Government was not particularly good in the last couple of weeks.

Leon Compton: But the point is his… his job is to communicate your views and the views of your Board, not to come up with views of his own. Is he leaving because of expressing views that you hold about the quality of decision-making in Government at the moment towards your GBE?

Bob Gordon: No, Ken’s leaving because we reached a mutual agreement that he leave. And because he believes and I believe his relationship with the Government would be very difficult to re-establish. Ahh… (interrupted)

Leon Compton: How is your relationship with the Government, given that, one would imagine, your Head of Communication is expressing your views to the Government, rather than his own?

Bob Gordon: I think that, ahhm… Forestry Tasmania’s, in general, relationship with the Government has been fairly challenging in the last three months. I think the appointment of a new Chair, ahhm… the appointment of two other new Board members; some changes that have been made in terms of making sure we don’t have, ahhm… hiccups in communication in the last couple of weeks.

Ahhm… I’d much rather look forward Leon and say: ‘Well, what’s happened has happened. Let’s build on that and let’s make sure we don’t get in those positions again’.

Leon Compton: Can I ask you the details of his payout? What sort of a payout will he receive?

Bob Gordon: His payout will be consistent with the other, ahhm… r positions that have been done within FT. And I’d be confident that we’d be recovering the full cost of his payout with 6 months.

Leon Compton: Has he discussed this departure with the new Chairman, Bob Anells?

Bob Gordon: He, as far as I’m aware, hasn’t met the new Chairman ahhm… since he was appointed. Ahhm… I was on leave and then Ken was on leave and as far as I understand the two haven’t spoken.

Leon Compton: As the new Chairman said, there were to be no leaks out of Forestry Tasmania under his watch. Is this one of his decisions, or does he support this decision?

Bob Gordon: Ahh… that was a decision I made in consultation with Ken. I informed the Board, which I would do with any senior management position. And the Chairman and the Board fully supported that position.

Leon Compton: You say you want to look forward. Let’s do some of that now. Are you currently looking at buying any of Gunns plantation assets?

Bob Gordon: (Pause)…. When Gunns went into Receivership and Administration, Forestry Tasmania was the contracted manager for quite a bit of that plantation estate. Obviously that was terminated when… … in Gunns committing an Act of Insolvency. Ahh…. We’ve written to the Receiver pointing out that we were responsible for fire management; for insect protection – for a whole range of, ahhm… basically protecting those forests. We’re having discussions with the Receiver and the Administrator about FT picking up that role, because it would be terrible if that quite substantial plantation estate – that Gunns has established – was let deteriorate through burning or insect attack. With the plantations that were owned by FEA when they went into Receivership, a significant proportion of those trees are now dead; they’ve been defoliated several times by insects. Ahhm… the care and maintenance of those plantations has not been kept up. And we are in discussions with the Receivers about us having a management role. There is reasonably large area of Gunns MIS plantations which are on State Forest, where we are the landlord. There are some plantations that Forestry Tasmania have on Gunns land, where Gunns is the landlord. And there are a series of Joints-Venture plantations between Forestry Tasmania, Gunns and Japanese companies.

Leon Compton: It is incredibly complex. Are you looking at buying any of the actual plantation assets at the moment?

Bob Gordon: The only thing that we looking at, is resolving Gunns proportional ownership of some of joint ventures. Obviously Gunns going into Receivership has – in some cases – breached those contracts. And we’re also actively looking at plantation swaps. Our main interest, as you’d be aware, is growing high value ‘clearwood’ logs where the trees are pruned and thinned. Gunns have some of those plantations; there are others on joint venture on State Forest… and so we haven’t got the cash to, ahhm… fork out large amounts of money to buy plantation estates. But we are looking at ways where we might be able to do non-cash transactions to have ahh… win-win situation.

Leon Compton: Are you looking at any other parts of Gunns at the moment that might be on the block?

Bob Gordon: Ahhm… they’ve got a very good seed orchard… ahhm, you breed trees, like you breed roses for particular characteristics and they’ve got some seed stock which again we might be discussing with them. Ahhm… there are other, ahhm… relationships that we have Gunns in terms of roads and a range of other issues that need to be resolved. But to put it simply, they’re quite complex relationships, which I think, will take quite a while to sort out.

Leon Compton: Also into the future, in fact into the very near future, you’ll be realising your financial reports for the year. Is it fair to say that that you’ll be announcing a significant loss for 2011-2012?

Bob Gordon: Correct… ahhm… I expect that we’ll release our results this week. Ahhm… it’s been a particularly tough trading year. Particularly with the continued, and I believe, permanent closure of Triabunna. It’s made it very difficult for saw millers, for Ta Ann and for Forestry Tasmania whilst ever there was a blockade of the State effectively; so that you can’t remove product. Ahhm… Gunns, ahhm… going the way that it did, and eventually going into Receivership and Administration has also been an issue. As it happens we’ve taken, I believe, quite prudent action to collect almost all of the debts Gunns owes [to FT]. There are a few outstanding ones, ahh… one of those debts was related to the Southwood Huon sawmill, where part of the arrangement was in the transaction where Del Vista purchased the mill – in return Gunns paid Forestry Tasmania a significant portion of the debt that was in dispute that may otherwise not have been collected.

Leon Compton: And so what sort of position are you [FT] in financially, as an organisation? Where will this year’s loss leave you.

Bob Gordon: (Pause and sigh)… Well, we’ve been cutting cost substantially. Ahhm… as you’re probably aware, the Southwood-Huon saw mill is a significant cash generator for Forestry Tasmania and it has been shut all of, ahh… last financial year. Ahhm… its running again yields us $4 to 5 million a year in cash. Ahh… the… ahhm… Smart Fibre chip operation at Bell Bay had also been effectively closed for 12 months. Ahh… it’s now re-opened and we are expecting to get our plantation pulp wood through that facility. So things are looking up a bit. We got our first boat load of chip logs – to be chipped in China – out of Hobart a couple of weeks ago. And of course the Government committed that it would be assisting Forestry Tasmania to pay the Community Service Obligations; our fire-fighting obligations, our role of managing a substantial area of forests for conservation purposes; that we’re to be funded for those Community Service Obligations.

Leon Compton: And so to the IGA on forestry. The Premier says she gives it another week; maybe until the end of the month. Many people are now expecting that a deal won’t get done. It’ll be back to whatever was before two years ago, when the process started.

So, what happens then? What’s you’re assessment?

Bob Gordon: I think it was over 2½ years ago that the process started. Ahhm… we’ve been contracted by the Commonwealth Government to run a series of wood flow scenarios; which we’ve done. They were presented, I think, to the signatories last week. I haven’t had any substantial feedback from that discussion. Ahh… we’re continuing to assist to give the parties every opportunity to understand what the consequences of their proposals are. But at the end of the day it’s something those parties need to negotiate or not negotiate.

I think there is still a quite substantial, ahhm… body of goodwill there, although I think in practice, ahhm… if you sit in the same room with the same group of people or a long period of time, you tend to find, ahhm… their faults, rather than their advantages.

But as far as I’m aware the meetings last week were quite cordial, ahh… people are still discussing it ad we [FT] will continue to support the process by providing independent, factual scientific information. [13.05]

From here:
http://blogs.abc.net.au/tasmania/2012/10/mornings-on-demand-monday-22102012.html?site=hobart&program=hobart_mornings

… but State Service Commissioner gets the axe

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

28 Comments

  1. john hawkins

    October 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    #30,Robin.

    Two other factors worthy of mention.

    FT is where it is today as a result of poor and totally one eyed incompetent leadership.

    Forestry in other States is still a profitable business even when run by GBE’s.

    More Tasmanian registered log trucks can be seen in NSW and Victoria than on the roads of Tasmania.

    We collected the wrong people out of the ANU and have kept them on regardless. Further we hired those removed from other States for incompetence, the flotsam and jetsam of the industry all to work in a state of collusion with corrupt pollies and business.

    A major player in the disaster of selling our native forests at a loss when obtained from the people as a free asset has been the lack of FSC accreditation.

    This has now made our clearfelled native forests and the plantations thereon totally unsaleable.

    Gunns and FT took the easy way out The Australian Forestry Standard now run by a Limited Company. This operation with all its 29 members has supported the losers and none of the winners.

    “The Australian Standard for Forest Management and Chain of Custody is a scientific based method of meeting global benchmarks in sustainabiity and provides the vehicle for a comprehensive public and transparent consultation process for the development and maintenance of the Australian Forestry Standard.”

    The trouble is no potential buyer believes this to be so.

  2. Robin Halton

    October 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    #29 Ralph Wessman, as a Silvicultual employee having spent most of your career at FT HQ you are in a prime position to encourage staff that you are closely associated with to read and contribute to TT in an assertive manner!
    There is no hush hush here many of us openly debate forestry issues.
    Open up the discussion with TT as the last two articles in the Mercury blog ban comments, the removal of Ken Jeffreys was one of those articles!
    Good to hear from you, let us hear more Ralph plus HQ staff.

    You might note /2nd half of my #28 that I have politely granted Bob Gordon a dispensation on the proviso that he sorts out fair and reasonable employment outcomes for current employees within the organisation that he remains responsible for.
    Just remember is was not only the Greens, Gunns Pulp Mill ,an agressive anti forestry community, unclear statements/ Forest Minister Bryan Green, High Aust $ and global marketing changes have lead to FT to where it is today! Cheers.

  3. Ralph Wessman

    October 25, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I am puzzled as to why there are so few contributions, in fact none at this point, in support of Mr Gordon. Could it be because today (Thursday) was a public holiday in Hobart and FT’s offices were closed?

    I’m not sure too many at FT actually read TT on a regular basis, RJ – for a few, TT’s prescribed reading I imagine :), but besides myself there’s just one other chap who contributes on the occasional basis, so far as I can recall [though memory could be failing here]. Unless your inference is towards anonymous contributors, but they’re anyone’s guess.

  4. Robin Halton

    October 25, 2012 at 11:03 am

    #19 John Powell, clearly I hold no grudges against FT, in fact they were a good employer till things “started to go pearshaped” by the late 1990’s with the stampede on the land mass to convert to monoculture eucalypt plantation.
    It was not only FT but Gunns, FEA and Private Forests Tasmania advancing in that direction too with the prime objective of developing a world class wood pulp industry in Tasmania.
    Unfortunately, the global industry rapidly focused on the South America’s for developing eucalypt pulping to its full potential within a short space of time over the last 25 years.

    #25 With the re appointment of Bob Gordon, the best thing he can do is which is first and foremost as a leader is to show respect and support for his staff to reduce the human cost as the inevitable restructure bites into the GBE.
    I do not believe that FT personell should be sacked, where there are positions available within the State Public Service, yet to be displaced employees can be offered alternative positions within the wider State Government framework.
    There is still an outstanding number of regeneration burns and reseeding of harvested areas that requires urgent silvicultural treatment before the axe falls on FT.
    There is no alternative than to use experienced staff to fullfill regeneration requirements as per the Forestry Act 1920.
    I must admit that I am not altogther clear on the terms of employment when comparing a GBE to a State Government agency!
    Combined with the fall of Gunns in the hands of its receivers the fate of the forests and a remaining forest industry is between the IGA, FT Board, FIAT, State Government and Federal Government.

  5. Mike Adams

    October 25, 2012 at 10:30 am

    No 20. Try today’s Examiner, page 31. Tony McCall’s half page ends with these sentences: ‘Forestry Tasmania is a government business enterprise, an enterprise that seeks a return on its assets. It can’t be someone’s empire.’

  6. Mark

    October 25, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Further to my comment #20, I heard Bob Gordon defending the purchase of Southwood using the convoluted financial logic that FT managed to recover most of the monies owed by Gunns through its purchase. I assume his logic runs along the lines that Gunns owed FT $x but FT paid an additional $y in excess of $x, totaling $3.3m.

    At the end of the money trail FT is now the 100% owner of a timber mill that Gunns had made into a non operating enterprise (liability) by paying Gunns more money where the only risk was that FT may not have received a dividend on monies owed.

    FT’s forward plan is to lease this mill to a sawmiller who would not pay the price to purchase the “asset.” I can only conjecture the lease payments will be below the real market value of such a mill and, therefore, unprofitable to FT.

    Was the financial wiz kid on the FT Board agreeable to this logic? No wonder FT is broke.

    BTW, Bob Gordon can still be dismissed by the new FT Board but it will cost us more to shorten his tenure. Nonetheless, it will probably be cheaper than his management decisions.

  7. RJ Peak

    October 25, 2012 at 3:07 am

    I am puzzled as to why there are so few contributions, in fact none at this point, in support of Mr Gordon. Could it be because today (Thursday) was a public holiday in Hobart and FT’s offices were closed? Maybe they will come flooding in tomorrow when the place reopens. Or maybe it is just taking a while for the fact of his re-appointment to sink in with the general public, and when it becomes more widely known the jubilation will be boundless.

  8. TH

    October 25, 2012 at 12:40 am

    #18 Just wait and see call me cynical but , the show must Rolley pardon the pun on .

    If it were not the case it would be a joke, I am willing wager this is what will occur or some opaque commercial in confidence of course agreement .

    Say no more

  9. mike seabrook

    October 25, 2012 at 12:13 am

    “because it would be terrible if that quite substantial plantation estate – that Gunns has established – was let deteriorate through burning or insect attack. ”

    is this blackmail & in effect saying

    your trees will burn down if you do not pay up all you owe including outstanding monies owing.

    could be a warmish summer coming up !!!!!

  10. Tim Thorne

    October 25, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Surely it is time to abolish FT. One alternative could be to replace its oversight and State forest maintenance functions with a Government Department, while allowing the market (with appropriate regulation) to sort out the commercial side of forestry.

    It pains me, as a life-long socialist, to suggest this, but even an untrammelled market economy approach could hardly have a worse effect on the industry than the distortions and wrong directions caused by government interference done badly.

  11. Mark

    October 24, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Well it’s all happening in Tasmania! I duck away from the computer for a few days and Kevin Bonham disappears, Bob Gordon decides to stay for another five years, Southwood is bought for $3.3m and FT runs at a loss (some things remain the same).

    I glanced at the Merc just now because when I left there was an article on Ken Jeffreys leaving FT. At 07:30 there was the ability to log a comment and I wrote something similar to: “Discipline is a critical element to a good organisation as stated by Bob Anells and so are the FT strategic outcomes ‘operating in accordance with sound commercial practices and as efficiently as possible and maximising the sustainable return to the state.’ On this basis can we also see the person/s responsible for the purchase of Southwood front and centre?”

    By 09:30 the ability to log a comment was removed. Similarly, the Merc’s stories on “Bosses felled in FT purge” and “Forestry Loss Tops $27m” do not have the function to log comments. These stories are nothing new so why is the Merc so precious? A cynic might muse whether or not advertising revenue is at risk. Whatever the reasons it is a failing of local media to report the news and community sentiment.

  12. John Powell

    October 24, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Messr Boeder,
    I just love this comment of yours “As for this State’s forestry minister, I can only wonder how he has survived the relentless probity investigations, the deep and meaningful logging industry inquiries”!

    One of the best bit of satire I have seen since Ken Jeffreys “FT deserves a gold medal” performance….because there have been NONE!

    One day there WILL be probity investigations etc,and that day is not too far away, if more Robin Halton’s have the courage to reveal the REAL truth about the Bobster and FT.

    Congratulations Robin and I hope that those in TasInc do not suggest that, like Bill Manning,you are just a disgruntled ex FT employee, like the sycophantic CFPO has publicly stated previously about Mr Manning.

    Perhaps others will support you. If they do then maybe this rotten FT malaise might be eliminated and a truly sustainable forestry industry reinstated like it was some 60 years ago before FT etc.

  13. William Boeder

    October 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    TH, you must have impeccable sources if your can state your comments here as pure fact?
    I and many others are fully aware of just how untenable are the Ta Ann contracts in their present form.
    Our forests just will not, cannot, provide the constant contracted supply of custom product as sought and promised to Ta Ann Holdings for the duration of its covertly extended log supply agreement.

    Having read Robin Halton’s account of this GBE’s controversial past history under the GM of Evan Rolley, this goes a long way in revealing how the whole scheming strategy of (Ta Ann) was to become the new all powerful taxpayer-funds consuming gorgon that to this very day, appears immune from all forms of regulation and responsibility for its purposes and practices.
    Today this gorgon is still relentless in its pursuit of generating revenues that seem to eveaporate somewhere within its operations, thus the constant delivery to Tasmania its worrisome string of losses?

    So, it was that in which Mr Evan Rolley’s past background and well known but peculiar strategic skills, that he must become the new man appointed to champion the overseas operations of the Ta Ann Holdings grasp upon ‘the offered to them by Forestry Tasmania,’ our Tasmania’s diminishing Old Growth Forests.

    Now it must be understood that all of the oddball strategies and pernicious undertakings of this GBE during those times and the recent past years, had the full approval of each of its board members during these highly contentious, (generally locked into Commercial in Confidence custody,) forest sinister and generally unprofitable times.
    As for this State’s forestry minister, I can only wonder how he has survived the relentless probity investigations, the deep and meaningful logging industry inquiries, all mixed in among his many other shortcomings?

  14. john hayward

    October 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    The burning issue is whether Gordon’s incredible autonomy is due to his being a stalking horse for a LibLab consortium, or stems from such a stack of goods on them that they’re paralysed.

    John Hayward

  15. TH

    October 24, 2012 at 11:12 am

    #9 I wish you were correct but in Australia Execs who tend to run Companies poorly, particularily on the ASX, get rewarded .

    There is an strong correlation between remunaration and falling shareholder returns . The bobster has this one worked out. Instead of going cap in hand for an equity raising from the market he just gets it from the gov.

    Maybe new forests did not want him.

    I agree 100% with everything written about this tinpot organisation because … I have seen the damage first hand they preside over In getting involved in markets; and poor management.

    Make no mistake he is about to preside over a taxpayer funded allocation of 150 million to Ta Ann to walk away from its contracts when the Grubby little IGA deal finally gets signed off on. That is the real story here and why FIAT keeps spitting the dummy trying to work out how Ta ann can get that money. This will be nexts week’s story anyway ..

  16. phill Parsons

    October 24, 2012 at 8:43 am

    7 & 8. For years Bob was a member of the ALP, The slow unravelling of the HACSU affair shows the sort of relationships that may develop to ensure protection.

  17. Factfinder

    October 24, 2012 at 1:19 am

    For the record:

    http://www.brandtasmania.com/members.php?ACT=details&cat=5&menu_code=1200&mid=11

    Sustainable, PEFC-Approved

    Forestry Tasmania is a Board-directed GBE that produces forest goods and services for local and international markets.
    Services include long-term research to support forest conservation, wood production and multiple use of Tasmania’s State forests.
    Tasmania has 1.5 million ha of State forest, including 783,000 ha that is available for wood production.
    The annual yield of 3.5 million cu m of timber originates from 33,000 ha of hardwood plantation, 53,000 ha of softwood plantation and 695,000 ha of native forest.

    Contact name:Robert Gordon
    Phone:03 6233 8203
    Fax:03 62 238 280
    Email:bob.gordon@forestry.tas.gov.au
    Website:http://www.forestrytas.com.au

  18. Robin Halton

    October 24, 2012 at 12:27 am

    My view is that FT GM Bob Gordon who is close to the Tasmanian Government wanted Corporate Relations Manager Ken Jefferys out anyway.
    Ken’s leak to FT staff was too much for Bob as the forestry crisis deepens with no effective resolution possible without a major shift to sacking staff during an unpopular restructure yet to be made public!
    It would have been preferable if this was kept hush but Ken with his media background no doubt was keen to alert FT staff, in a way good on him!
    Bob Gordon himself is not a good media affairs person, so far he does not inspire confidence within or outside the organistaion, his senior managers are not united and field staff remain left in the dark.
    I recall during the Corporatisation process back in 1996 we were cofronted with two differing personalities GM Evan Rolley who promised us the world,” our staff will be a part of the new business”,”like bloody hell we were” and AGM Kim Creak who got his way and us sold us out by recruiting new staff from the mainland and South Africa offering them generous relocation and employment packages unheard of under the former Public Service guidelines.
    Over the next few years FT went on a splurge with consultants, performence bonus payments to selected staff, demonising CPSU and AWU involvement and all sorts of special appointments for outsiders and hangers on.
    The Helsham money was squandered on these new excesses at an alarming rate, regrowth forest deemed as substandard was being flattened, private farmland was bought up,the mass plantings of eucalypt monocultures was accelerated at an alarming rate.
    Forestry quickly entered a new era as widely described by staff as seeing the worst combination of public service and private business working together.
    To top it off FT flogged off its best little earner its Softwood estate to foreign jetsetters much to the shock of long term staff.
    FT has been on a path of self destruction ever since, especially with its wasted effort developing extensive eucalypt monoculture.
    Without a pulpmill in sight the effort was wasted, all this under the watch of Evan Rolley and Bob Gordon!
    Just hope that new board member Bob Annells can figure out a solution now that Bob Gordon has been re appointed for 5 years under the watch of weak Forest Minister Bryan Green??????????????

  19. Estelle Ross

    October 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    At last year’s MyState Board meeting I questioned the CEO from the floor as to whether Bob Gordon was a suitable person to be on their board considering what a dog’s breakfast he had made at Forestry Tasmania. There was a deathly hush. I could not see the look on Mr Gordon’s face because he was sitting in the row in front of me and my view of him was was somewhat blocked. I forget the somewhat banal response from the CEO but several people from the audience came up to me after and said they totally agreed!
    Why is he still on MyState’s board?

  20. John Powell

    October 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I just feel sorry for George aka, Robin, and Jack. What job will they apply for now?

    But honestly, an Executive in Private Industry would have fallen on his sword by now. Says something about arrogance does it not?

  21. john hayward

    October 23, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Both Bobster and the board which reappointed him have stuck to their principles through thick, thin, attempted gifts of public land, and the unauthorised purchase of private assets for the benefit of private parties.

    It would be fascinating to know exactly how they get away with it, but I have a fair idea.

    John Hayward

  22. pilko

    October 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Two days ago i asked via Twitter who was the last Tasmanian journo to ask Bob Gordon if his position was tenable. Many local journo’s follow my Twitter stream. I also used the #politas hashtag which is the hashtag used by media & followers of Tasmanian Politics.

    The silence was deafening.

    Then yesterday on the back of another massive loss – $27.6M, the Managing Director was rewarded with a 5 year contract extension.

    Bob Gordon is indeed the Teflon Man and the question has to be asked again & again & again – Why?

  23. john hawkins

    October 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    This appointment requires a contract.

    The former supply of logs from FT to Gunns required a contract.

    Has Forestry Tasmania learnt from recent experience over native forest contracts that surrender whatever the circumstances brings with it large a large cash settlement.

    When a contract is broken stiff payments are needed to clear up the mess.

    Scott Gadd was signed up to a new 3 year contract by Bartlett when his agency was about to be axed and he only had a few months left in the Job.

    This cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Will Gordon and FT last 5 years or will this virtually Bankrupt GBE pinch the latest 100 million plus from the taxpayers Letter of Comfort to ease the pain when this loss making enterprise is finally closed down.

    This will leave Gordon with many years of profitable entitlements to see him on his way?

    Time will tell.

  24. Neil Smith

    October 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Terrifying, but about what you’d expect from that mob.

    Good luck indeed, Jenny, but failing action there its all the more reason to pull the agency apart so the Bobster’s ambit is abbreviated.

    If we are lucky he’ll lose interest and go away.

  25. mike seabrook

    October 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    What says the chairman & the minister responsible for forestry tas & the lab-green cabinet members .( who will no doubt be saying that it is the libs fault & hodgman & abbott have to answer for it).

    Unless he blows the whistle on past actions …

    Expect massive payouts at the cost of the public purse through the tas treasury letter of comfort to tas forestry to …

    Shame!!!!!!

    (Edited: legally problematical)

  26. John Christopher

    October 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    I agree with Jenny Weber, as a senior management position, the track record of Mr Gordon would appear to be underwhelming. In saying this, I am interested to learn what Jenny proposes as an alternative to the re-appointment of Mr Gordon. What would her strategy be to achieve strategic and ongoing operational success.

  27. moo

    October 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Good luck with that Jenny

  28. socratesdancing

    October 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Well thank Goodness! This puppy was held to the end of the day and reported AFTER 5pm on ABC Radio News (you may have heard my cry of WTF, birds took off from the local trees) and has YET to make it into the Merc or The Exaggerator – the silence is deafening. I have an analogy concerning Hercules and The Hydra…I hope Herc is cauterizing the freshly lopped heads at FT, or the beast will surely rise again.

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