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Hodgman funds forestry damage-control PR and a ‘Growth Strategy’ it doesn’t support

On the eve of a Legislative Council vote on his divisive and illogical forestry legislation, the Wilderness Society has questioned Premier Will Hodgman’s budget allocations to forestry related initiatives, including the implementation of a Strategic Growth Plan that runs counter to its forestry legislation and a $450,000 public relations campaign that looks like a pre-election damage control slush fund.

The Strategic Growth Plan, kept secret whist Premier Hodgman’s legislation passed the Lower House, does not call for the reversal of high-conservation forest reserves and explicitly recommends forest policy that is ‘agreed and stable’. The Government’s forestry legislation to reverse and log reserves lacks credible timber industry support and risks Tasmania’s environment, brand, timber markets and third party certification – it is anything but ‘agreed and stable’.

“Premier Hodgman’s forest policy is chaotic and attracting overt opposition from a wide cross section of the community, including the timber industry itself,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society.

“To allocate millions of dollars of public money to implement a plan that bears no resemblance to the forestry legislation his Minister is putting to the Upper House highlights the inconsistency and desperation in Premier Hodgman’s forestry portfolio.

The Wilderness Society is calling for clarity on a $450,000 (over 2 years) allocation for ‘community awareness projects’.

As Government bulldozes ahead with unpopular and illogical forestry legislation, the Society called this out as a damage-control PR campaign, including through an election period.

“If the Growth Strategy calls for increased community awareness, it does it in the context of ‘agreed and stable’ forest policy and where the forest reserves Premier Hodgman wants to log are counted as part of the Tasmanian Reserve Estate, part of the 50% of Tasmania that is protected,” said Mr Bayley.

“This looks like a publicly-funded PR campaign in the lead up to and beyond the next election.

“This budget demonstrates that public subsidies of the forest industry are alive and well under Premier Hodgman. On top of budget handouts, this Government will privatise publicly-owned plantations to prop-up Forestry Tasmania’s books while it makes a loss on logging native forests.”
Vica Bayley, Tasmanian Campaign Manager, The Wilderness Society (Tasmania) Inc.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. William Boeder

    May 30, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    Dear George, thank you injecting some enthusiasm into the Guy Barnett proposal.
    My guess is that there are at least 2 others in Tasmania that will endorse this open and fully transparent proposal.
    One wonders if the knowing that this Barnett pursuit is sure to consist of a redirected great wad of Liberal party budgeted Health and Hospital taxpayer money, thus this will please all the Tasmanian Liberal party intellectuals.
    Hooruh’ what a great boost to the ramped up extermination of a further huge expanse of the people’s Crown Land forests.
    Then to, perhaps Ta Ann’s management may be seeking further subsidization for their connection to Tasmania’s infamous logging industry.
    By the way, how goes the acquisition of your base product materials George?

  2. John Wade

    May 30, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    1 – “If (his) previous behaviour had not been so dishonest and deceitful” – You can use that paint brush to colour a few other people in the room as well.

  3. George Harris

    May 30, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    I have found Vica Bayley to be a dishonest and deceitful person, in my view, especially during the Signatory negotiations for the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, and during and since the consideration of the dubious extension to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
    He is now misrepresenting the truth on the status of land currently under consideration in the Forestry Bill before the parliament.
    Yes, there is money available for specific community awareness campaigns, but that is for undertakings previously announced but yet to get fully under way, and which require a budget allocation. If Vica Bayley’s previous behaviour had not been so dishonest and deceitful, in my view, he may have been included in discussions, but that is for him to ponder.

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