Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


An apocalyptic future … ?

After some three years of frustration with Forestry Tasmania, the Forestry Practices Authority and the Minister, I penned the post below to describe in my words and indeed those of T.S. Eliot and his poem “The Hollow Men”.


My frustration has continued over the succeeding five plus years due to the ongoing incompetency of FT and successive Ministers, the wasting of taxpayer monies via subsidy, and the facilitation of FT financial failure by successive Treasurers, and the latest bluster on the maintenance of Mountain Road, my only access to my property Myrtlebank.


In seeking some inspiration for this commentary on FT, aka STT, and the current Minister Guy Barnett, I turned to films of the past which might best describe the status quo and miraculously discovered a more than cogent link to Apocalypse Now, that powerful film relating to the Vietnam War.

Extraordinarily Eliot’s poem was a strong influence on Francis Ford Coppola and the movie Apocalypse Now (1979), in which antagonist Colonel Kurtz (played by Marlon Brando) is depicted reading parts of the poem aloud to his followers.

Furthermore, the Complete Dossier DVD release of the film includes a 17-minute special feature of Kurtz reciting the poem in its entirety. The poem’s epigraph, “Mistah Kurtz – he dead”, is a quote from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1899), upon which the film is loosely based.

And remarkably the main character Colonel Kurtz, displays an uncanny resemblance to Minister Barnett and one of his most famous lines seemingly describes the Minister’s modus operandi, viz

“I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That’s my dream. That’s my nightmare: crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor and surviving”.


My need to reflect again on The Hollow Men is the response below from FT aka STT on my plea for urgently needed maintenance on Mountain Road and most certainly before the fire season …


Thank you for your email regarding maintenance of Mountain Road, Liffey.

Road status

I can confirm that the section of the road from the Lake Highway to your property boundary is recognised under the Forest Management Act 2013 as Permanent Timber Production Zone land and is therefore under the management control of Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT), formerly Forestry Tasmania, and is regarded as a forest road.

The section of road (east of the property boundary), is not on Permanent Timber Production Zone land and is not managed by Sustainable Timber Tasmania.

Road maintenance

With regard to road maintenance, firstly for the section of Mountain Road managed by Sustainable Timber Tasmania.

This section of road is sufficient for our current access requirements. We anticipate that some road maintenance, such as road side slashing, may be carried out to facilitate harvesting operations commencing in the coupe BA388D. This coupe is currently planned for 2018/19 in our Three Year Wood Production Plan and any road maintenance will be linked with this planned harvest once operational planning is completed and the harvest scheduled.

Secondly, regarding the section of road Mountain Rd beyond the Permanent Timber Production Zone boundary, as noted above, Sustainable Timber Tasmania does not have management control. STT will not be conducting any maintenance operations on this section.

As you might appreciate, Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT) manages a large road network that provides access to Permanent Timber Production Zone land and other tenures including many isolated parcels of private property like your own. STT prioritises road maintenance work on its road network based on meeting our wood production requirements, high use community service roads or roads where environmental harm may occur (for example due to erosion).

Third party access

With regards to third parties accessing your property, may I suggest that you report the issue caused by Google Maps and Google Earth to Google. In addition, if you think that it may be of assistance, we could investigate erecting a ‘No Access to Liffey Falls’ sign at the beginning of Mountain Road.


Given their 70 year history of abusing the owners of this property, (see original “this is the way the world ends” : http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/article/this-is-the-way-the-world-ends-/ ), I suspected this would be the FT/STT position, typically unresponsive to an individual need by a taxpayer, despite issues related to safety and security during the impending fire season.

However what is most disappointing is the fact that in an email response to me on 10 October the Premier stated “I will seek some advice from my colleague, Guy Barnett MP as the Minister responsible for Sustainable Timber Tasmania and will ask him to respond to you directly.”

And guess what? I have had no direct contact from the Minister despite his office in Deloraine being only 25kms from the location of my property.

Is this a surprise? absobloodylutely not!

Wonder if STT and the Minister’s motto is “I love the smell of napalm in the morning”



*John Powell was born in Rushworth Vic, in-law of Sergeant Kennedy killed by Ned Kelly at Stringybark Creek, taught by Barry Jones (Pick a Box fame) at Dandenong High School and graduate of Monash University (PhD), Nasho during Vietnam. experience in oil &gas industry including Bass Strait North West Shelf and PNG Gas plus water industry and Rosebery (love the Top Pub). Bird watcher and environmentalist. In Tassie for 8 plus years. Devils on the property …



  1. Kim Peart

    October 25, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Fighting for forestry is a Catch 22 situation.

    We can fight for paradise in Tasmania but on a planet getting too hot, paradise is at risk from much more than forestry practices.

    If we tell a story that inspires people to save the planet, then we will have the voting army to save paradise in Tasmania.

    So what is the story that will inspire people to save the Earth?

    Reducing excess carbon in the air that is driving the heat rise that will come to be a risk to life as the heat goes up, is the beginning of a credible story.

    Heat drives fiercer fires, which destroy forests in Tasmania.

    A rain-check on the key heat driver, CO2, shows that the difference between an ice age and the past few millennia, is 90 ppm. Another 90 ppm was passed in the 1990s.

    Now, with CO2 going beyond 405 ppm and galloping ahead at 3 ppm per annum, we are committing to future heat beyond measure.

    There is no way available on Earth to extract excess carbon to get the stuff below a safe 1970s level of 300 ppm.

    There is our Catch 22.

    Do we march around in circles, like convicts at Port Arthur holding anti-forestry placards, or do we break out and find the way to save the Earth?

  2. john hayward

    October 25, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    John has seemingly fallen into the common error of mistaking STT’s public statements for matters of fact.

    In this case it is their traditional plea that their huge and chronic annual deficits are the result of statutory obligations for public services rather than accounting chicanery or misappropriation.

    After last year’s floods which swept away our only bridge access for ten months, STT claimed it lacked the financial wherewithal to fix about a hundred metres of the boggy forestry track providing the only access onto the farms at its bottom.

    Guy Barnett offered to inspect the area if locals would provide his transport. He is however, hard at work providing a yobbo version of The Wasteland in those public forests within his portfolio.

    John Hayward


  3. MjF

    October 25, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    A perfectly reasoned and rational response I would have thought.

    I would certainly take them up on their generous offer to investigate the possibility of erecting a suitably worded sign.

    A capital proposal and an olive branch extended if I ever saw one.

    That should conclude matters then Mr Powell ?

    ……….and more logging to done in FY 18/19 in their road they say ?

    Awesome. I was rather hoping there was some left.

    Ps- give Barnett a chance to catch his breath. He does have an expanded portfolio you know which brings with it important matters to address.

  4. Mark Poynter

    October 26, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Mr Powell …

    Lets get this straight …. you have spent many years on here ridiculing FT/SST for being (supposedly?) subsidised. Now you are begging for a subsidy by trying to force a government agency to maintain a road to a higher than necessary standard virtually for your own personal use. I think that’s called hypocrisy.

  5. MjF

    October 31, 2017 at 1:39 am

    #1… Quite right Kim. All the more reason not to burn fossil fuels by unnecessarily maintaining a part time dead end road. All this for the exclusive use of people who decide to live in the middle of nowhere and expect preferential treatment.
    No thank you.

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