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9 March 06, Sid Walker former Executive Officer NSW Nature Conservation Council 1990-1995

peakalonesidwalkermar06.jpg

 

Introduction by ecology action's Tom McLoughlin:

Image above taken by this writer at Peak Alone in a logging area in Wandella Forest Thursday afternoon March 9th 2006, inland from Cobargo, in the heart of the NSW Nature Coast tourism sector. Species Eucalyptus Siberi or Stringy Bark. Quite a big one by the look of the number of people on the stump. The background ridgeline to the sky is Wadbilliga National Park which by rights should include this place too.

The Wandella Valley is a lovely treasure that hardly deserves to be trashed by the dinosaur native forest logging industry (based at Eden in the NSW south east and sourcing from there and East Gippsland in Victoria) being totally outcompeted these days by the huge existing plantation sector.

The loggers who did this are alleged to have criminally assaulted peaceful protesters similar to those above. The same loggers were given support at a rally late last year in Cobargo by senior ALP figure Michael O'Connor (seen  on Australian Story ABC TV more recently). That's how incompetent and narrow the ALP are these days. Protecting their mates including a blind eye to alleged thuggery where they see fit.

Nor is this really about jobs, as there are plenty in the existing plantation sector. It's about dinosaur ideology of the 'right' just like in Tasmania to destroy public native forest.

No doubt the logging/Eden woodchip driven industry will be financing the legal defence of the alleged violent loggers in some way or other. An image of the bloody face of one of the victims was already posted on Sydney Indepedent Media last year again taken by this writer.

A very knowledgeable voice, Sid Walker, executive officer of the NSW Nature Conservation Council 1990 to 1995, and renowned for his moderate style, recently wrote on Sydney Independent Media in very harsh terms about what has happened under the Carr-Iemma led NSW government especially in South Eastern NSW regarding woodchipping underpinning such logging above. This comment by Sid Walker is therefore an important benchmark given his highly credible reputation and independent perspective from a distance away from ecology action or anyone else probably.

On this aspect of Sid's reputation ecology action recently noted in correspondence to the green movement:

Leading negotiator and moderator 1990-1995 as exec officer for NCC NSW reappears on of all things the Sydney IMC on this string about Eden forest protesters.
 
Sid is a very reliable fellow actually, and this post assuming it is his is very significant in historical context. I last saw Sid in action in the State Library lambasting Col Dorber [of Forest Products Association of NSW for the logger business owners] in around 1995 as Sid made his farewells for North Qld or somewhere.
 
What he says here is important as a benchmarking of where we have been this last 10 years and has alot of credibility. He tried before bailing to get me as an errant prodigal to fall back in with the senior policy advisers within the Premier's office, always the peacemaker, always the unifier where possible.
 
That is to say, his harsh language is even more compelling for the atypical out of charater aspect of it. Not your average angry headed greenie by any means but a very experienced voice all the same. Pretty much corroborates everything myself and little group, and broader ChipStop stands for too:
 
"Thanks for fighting on folks...
Submitted by Sid Walker (not verified) on Thu, 2006-03-09 18:30.

All power to the protestors! Thanks for keeping the struggle for these
wonderful forests alive.

The continuing wood chipping at Eden is the result of Bob Carr and the NSW
Australian Labor Party LYING to the conservation movement and specifically
to Ian Cohen in 1995, prior to the election when the Carr Government first
came to office.

Carr promised an end to woodchipping by 2000, in writing. He never delivered -
just as he reneged on a LOT more of the NSW ALP's 1995 Forest Policy.

That policy was thrashed out after very hard bargaining that included timber
workers union representatives – indeed, they clearly had a lot of influence on
proceedings and secured the pledge of a large sum of industry restructuring
money.

In the policy that was eventually agreed, conservationists accepted the
liquidation of the Liberal Government’s ‘Environmental Trusts’ funds in return
for clearly specified environmental outcomes.

Less than a fortnight before the election, the ALP’s polling suggested that
it would be a desperately close election. Green preferences were still not
guaranteed in a number of key marginal seats that Labor had to gain to win
Government.

The Greens at State level negotiated with the ALP some additional
concessions. These were given in the form of a letter to Ian Cohen, shortly to
become NSW’s first Upper House member. Included in the letter was a crucial
pledge to end woodchipping by the end of the century.

Once in power, the Union, Timber Industry and Government got together and
mugged the conservation movement.

It's a great shame, because the 1995 policy, had it been faithfully
implemented, could have largely solved conflict over NSW public forests. The
appalling woodchip industry would now be long gone. High value processing would
have retained - even increased - jobs in the industry and plenty of money was
set aside for that.

If anyone should be before the courts in 2006, it should be the lying
shysters in the ALP and their accomplices in the timber industry and unions who
betrayed the NSW electorate in 1995. Bob Carr was foremost in the con.
Ironically, he would never have become Premier had it not been for the extra
votes conned out of the conservation movement in 1995.

He may grandstand about his 'Environmental Legacy' and how he 'Saved the
Forests', while enjoying lucrative consultancies and other perks of former
power, but those of us who were there know the truth. These brave protestors -
latest in a long line of forest protestors arrested for standing up for sanity
- are witness to the truth.

His hypocrisy - and the slimy way he and his collaborators are trying to
fabricate history to exonerate themselves for their betrayals and make
continuing environmental desecration seem like an 'achievement' - makes me want
to vomit.

In 1995, Bob Carr was handed a real, comprehensive and negotiated 'solution'
to the forest conflict. Achieving this agreement was a real triumph. Had it
been implemented, Carr could legitimately have gone down in history as a
Premier with a fine environmental legacy.

Instead, once in power, he chose to cut a backroom deal with persons unknown
in the big end of town and sleazy, shortsighted, industry-co-opted union
bosses. I wish I knew what really went on behind the scenes at that time. It
would be most interesting.

The Woodchip Mill at Eden should be re-named the Bob Carr ‘Environmental
Legacy Woodchip Mill’ - or better still, the ALP Woodchip Mill (it looks like
an alp).

One person who could cast light on all this is Senator Penny Wong, currently
representing South Australia but at that time employed as a key ALP apparatchik
in NSW, first working within the timber union, then a Ministerial Adviser in
Government. She ably played the role of "Commissar for the Forest
Fix" in the first phase of the Carr Government.

Ms Wong, of course, would put a whole different "spin" on this history, but in my opinion should be called to account for her role in betraying the NSW forests - and be asked probing questions that would help us better understand why a civilized State in a civilized country STILL has a native forest woodchip industry in 2006."

[end quote of Sid Walker]

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