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

Economy

Barnett defends the indefensible GBE with more spin, deception and blame

*Pic: – Ted Mead – A grand Tarkine eucalypt – too big for peelers, too old for sawlogs. These magnificent ancient forests invariably end up as pulverised chip residue at a great financial cost to taxpayers …

First published December 15

At the recent Government Business Enterprise hearings Guy Barnett’s spruiked the prosperity of the Tasmanian Forest industry for 2017. This was yet another falsehood by the minister himself.

In fact it was a tumultuous year for FT/ STT, and the firesale of flogging–off their hardwood plantations for a song proved how diabolical their present scenario is. So what is the government really doing to address the native forestry industry’s afflictions?

Sadly … nothing beyond business as usual!

At the GBE hearings Guy Barnett was heavily criticised by Legislative Councillors for his ‘political’ answers when it came to questions about STT’s quest for FSC, and the sale of the hardwood plantations. Barnett repeatedly blamed “lockups” for the industry woes, calling it a “stuff up”, which he said has caused “no end of pain” for the industry, and stated that he was “working like a Trojan” to rebuild the forest industry.

Well Guy, it’s an epic Trojan failure because economists ( eg, John Lawrence ) are constantly remind us that this dysfunctional GBE is essentially trading insolvent, with a very limited resource market future beyond so-called “residues”.

It’s bleedingly obvious that STT’s woeful financial disposition is fundamentally due to its operations geared around an ongoing heavily-subsidised woodchip supply rather than establishing a sustainable sawlog industry and downstream processing for Tasmania’s quality native timber resources.

The Hodgman government’s robotic thinking continues to see the well-greased wheels of insatiable native forest logging in Tasmania grinding away at decimating High Conservation Areas. To put it simply, they know no other way to utilise a finite resource beyond recklessly mismanaging it at a high cost to the taxpayer and the environment.

Madness is an understatement, and STT needs to be dissolved pronto for every reason thinkable!

With the election looming early next year, forestry and its massive debts, all which has come at a cost to Tasmania’s essential services, may be a notable issue for concerned voters.

But is there an alternative view elsewhere in Tasmania’s political system?

MLC member for Labor in Elwick, Josh Willie, hasn’t presented a different view, in fact he recently stated that the Tasmanian Labor Party has accepted that a $25 million per year prop-up of the forestry GBE was going to perpetuate!

The Greens in 2012 were also divided and duped regarding the TFA agreement, and notably the compensation gifts allocated to industry and its dubious contractors. Being inside cabinet gave the Greens insight to the machinations of the TFA process that ultimately manipulated them.

Meanwhile logging of the Tarkine’s High Conservation Areas are scheduled this summer.

According to the current 3-year Wood Production plan numerous logging coupes are scheduled for the Tarkine late in summer.

The Frankland, Rapid and Que River coupes in the Tarkine clearly show what a failure the government’s stone-age ideology is. The cost-negative logging of these High Conservation Areas are frequently undertaken with low-volume resource extraction, whilst concurrently creating environmental impacts.

So what will it take to alert voters that logging of native forests HCA in Tasmania should cease?

Do we need to see our health and education systems crumble before there is change to propping up an unviable GBE?

Will the Hodgman government, in desperation, attempt to log a contentious forest area soon in the hope that it will get them over the line at the ballot box?

Will there be logging in the Tarkine’s wild forests this summer prior to election day?

Somehow I can feel another forestry blockade coming on …

Ted Mead has been working on conservation issues for over 35 years, and continues to be frustrated to see the island’s magnificent wild forests being plundered for basically woodchips. Ted condemns the loss of such priceless heritage, and claims that these globally significant forests are worth more standing both to Tasmania and our worldly future.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Gordon Bradbury

    December 14, 2017 at 9:06 am

    Good one, Ted.

    A blockade and a boycott would just about knock this zombie dinosaur over.

    Cheers!

  2. Chris

    December 14, 2017 at 10:24 am

    The grinning chainsaw wielder, eh.
    Wot next?
    How much have the Liberal coffers been swelled by allowing Gutwhiner type development on the Tasmanian Peninsular, after all $1 million grant of our money to a non GBE seems strange coming from a Lieberal Leader ?

  3. mike seabrook

    December 14, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    no problem – nearly all the loot for forestry, fox hunting, not building hydro/flood minimising dams et al. comes from the feds

    consider how much can the lab greens squeeze out of canberra

    canberra and mis money to plant trees and to not chop down trees caused the never ending stuff ups – and plenty more where that came from.

    look for who actually paid out the cash lost and who benefits from this cash.

  4. max

    December 15, 2017 at 10:06 am

    # 3 Mike … No criticism intended just curiosity Where would you build the hydro/flood minimising dams?

  5. Lyndall Rowley

    December 16, 2017 at 9:06 am

    Thank you Ted. I was not aware of this, and showing us the magnificent tree that could end up wood-chipped gives a stunning shock of reality … not to mention that it is unconscionable and completely insane.

    I have now written twice to Minister Frydenburg about the Tyler’s Hill Swift Parrot habitat clear-felling that occurred legally under the newly-renewed RFA and 3-year wood harvesting plans.

    In my second letter I referred to your article, as well as work by John Lawrence re economics of this unsustainable and damaging arm of the Tasmanian government. I have asked that under the circumstances, especially about the precarious state of the critically endangered Swift Parrot still directly affected by logging, that the federal government should re-examine the bases of the RFA to see if they are correct/valid and fully justified.

    Might I suggest others do the same and let Minister Frydenburg and his departmental heads know your points of view, and any facts you think are being overlooked. They might not be getting the full picture or appropriate emphasis from their current consultative processes.

    https://onlineservices.environment.gov.au/contact-your-minister

  6. phill Parsons

    December 16, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Scotts Peak Dam and Huonville, The Mersey system and Latrobe were sold as flood minimisation schemes only to be let down at least once in modern times by the rainfall pattern. It fell below the respective dam’s locations.

  7. Ted Mead

    December 16, 2017 at 11:09 am

    #6 … The Scotts Peak dam only impounds about 1% of the greater Huon River catchment. It never has, and never will, mitigate flood impacts upon Huonville!

  8. Pete Godfrey

    December 16, 2017 at 11:32 am

    The Meander dam was built to supply Gunns’ pulp mill. It too was sold as a flood mitigation dam.
    As most of our rain falls in winter, these small dams fill fast. They never will work to mitigate floods.
    Deloraine has been flooded just as much since the dam was put in as it was before the dam.
    I guess the proponents work on the hope that most of the public believe what they are told or read.

  9. Lyndall Rowley

    December 16, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Hi again Ted. I was just re-reading your article and thinking.

    You said: “So what will it take to alert voters that logging of native forests HCA in Tasmania should cease?”

    What if you started a petition? Tell people what’s due to be logged – clear-felled? – this summer and the values you know are there. You are in a better position than most with the intimate knowledge.

    If there are more trees like the magnificent beast you’ve pictured above for the chopping block in these coupes I’m sure people will say “no” to logging. It’s a no-brainer, imo, blind Freddy can even see that. If these beautiful old and majestic trees are destined for wood-chipping, that would be an even worse tragedy, and people should be made aware.

    I’ve never started my own petition, but platforms like Change.org or communityrun.org would be good options. Then again, if you wanted to tap into global sentiments about logging of old-growth and High Conservation Areas you could also try Avaaz dot org. Actually Avaaz might be the best option as it’s easier to gather far more signatures, also it might serve to embarrass and make fed & state politicians take notice. There’s nothing to lose and no harm in trying, don’t you think?

    I’m sure there are many people out there who don’t know what’s really happening to these great forests because they trust that our governments and their “sustainable” and “biodiversity” claims are actually being practiced.

    Besides, we’re a highly educated, 1st world, affluent and civilised society in Australia, so who would think we’d actually be trashing forever these national (and global) treasures just for a few quick bucks?

  10. Ted Mead

    December 17, 2017 at 8:34 am

    #9, Lyndall … Whilst the suggestion and concept of organising a petition to protect our remnant old forests may seem a worthy cause, it would be fairly ineffective in Tasmania.

    I have no idea where you live, but if you are slightly familiar with Tas Forestry and it’s unbreakable umbilical cord with the dodgy politicians that breed prolifically here, you would understand the overwhelming task to change any form of their hostile attitudes towards nature. A petition, regardless of how many signatures, would be instantly dismissed!

    Secure protection for the environment is rarely initiated by a Tasmanian government. In fact it seems a consistent agenda to polarise the community about what should and shouldn’t be exploited on the basis of jobs and growth.

    It’s an old catch cry that has prevailed for decades here, but the economic justification is wearing thin in the eyes of many.

    As the state’s essential services rapidly grind towards total dysfunction, the exposure of the insatiable, corrupt and unaccountable native forest industry is what will see the very demise of its existence.

    That day is coming, and it can’t come quickly enough!

  11. john hayward

    December 18, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    I tried to imagine anyone so abysmally stupid that they honestly still believe the Tax logging industry is an economically and environmentally sound investment of public money.

    Failing that, I’m trying to guess who is pocketing the $40m+ in annual subsidies we are paying someone each year for liquidating a publicly owned resource.

    Curiosity can be maddening, Guy. Put us out of our misery.

    John Hayward

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