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Jan 2005... Sadly the logging threat to south coast NSW public forest continues, as explained here

 

James Woodford PR job application with Carr govt?

January 22nd 2005

Picture: secret life indeed, front cover of distinguished author James Woodford, former forest conservation activist with South East Forest Alliance within Total Environment Centre in the early 1990's

Sydney Morning Herald story about the venerable 'old blotchy' big tree on the NSW coast was music to the govt ears but natural history writer Woodford has sanitised with govt PR the real context and significance ... the only mystery really is why the censorship by omission?

The gushing govt friendly story stroking selective greenie achievement which in itself serves the government patronage machine can be found  Jan. 18, 2005 at:

Big tree nearly out of the woods 

Old favourite ... a Forests NSW ranger, Ken Boer, a NPWS ranger, David Cunningham, and Old Blotchy.

Old favourite ... a Forests NSW ranger, Ken Boer, a NPWS ranger, David Cunningham, and Old Blotchy.
Photo: Peter Rae

A picture of the relevant tree Old Blotchy in South Brooman State Forest in the article is indeed impressive, but not bigger than fresh tree stumps this writer has seen on the south coast in the last ten years ie of trees not saved.

Another earlier picture of the same tree was published by this writer:

'Quarrantine of South Coast forest news away from Sydney media consumers?' 23rd Dec 2004

Extensive web searching of NSW Minister's department, regional news media and discussion with a regional journalist suggests the Carr spin machine are smothering any Sydney media coverage of the big pro logging decisions for the very green south coast pre Christmas. Yet it's hammer and tongs on South East Radio ....offline, and out of sight.

Neither the web page of NSW Minister Ian Macdonald advertised in the latest official Bush Telegraph as:

www.dpi.nsw.gov.au

nor local media outlets like Moruya Times, or even the Canberra Times have any information posted as to certain long sought after conservation outcomes on the south coast earlier this week. Apparently the limit or extent of these decisions are concurrent with very big logging outcomes and a notice in the Sydney Morning Herald classifieds p18 17/12/04 only vaguely covereing the facts.

Nor is anything on the web from the so called Minister for the Environment Bob Debus at:

http://www3.environment.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/dec_media_releases

Yet the story or decision or whatever it really is is running on local south east radio but the majority of Sydney siders it seems are not to know about it.

This looks like a deliberate smothering communication strategy to bury a very hot conservation conflict in southern NSW just before Christmas.

Google searches on two icon areas 'Monga' and 'Deua' provide no information.

A relevant official Bush Telegraph story about 72,000 cubic metres a year for 20 years to a big local mill can be located on the web.

Morrie Ferry of ABC Bega has confirmed with me this morning that this story has sparked press statements from the NSW Minister, the Federal Minister criticising, local conservationist Val Plumwood on air being positive, peak group The Wilderness Society being qualified positive. Morrie Ferry said as a very experienced journalist he has concerns about timely access to NSW govt information. None of this is actually available online at

http://www.abc.net.au/southeastnsw/

Morrie Ferry often runs stories in the local region that are picked up by the national ABC news media networks.

Green group TWS have nothing on their web page either. Enquiries are under way.

How would Sydney siders more broadly even know their beloved south coast is going to be hammered by woodchippers if they looked at the the mass media currently pre Christmas?

The standard PR spin of the State govt is 'saving forests and jobs' when it is really more about saving their own political backsides with profound lack of leadership as 1 million woodchips out of old growth load up each and every year. This pre christmas strangling of real information and quarrantining to one robust local ABC radio station is quite disturbing.

A protest earlier this week found 160 log trucks entered the Eden woodchipper in one day. That a hell of a lot of old growth being destroyed. Apparently the woodchipper machine down there was replaced with a new machine in 2003 according to local land owner and freelance writer, Harriet Swift of ChipStop.


The story discusses the very careful micro management of media distribution at state and regional level by picking and choosing who gets the information and the timing of the same. I took a trip down the southern coast into Victoria over the break and bought all the local press and found plenty more evidence of the same kind of micro release.

nocharcoalsouthcoastforestpics.jpg

 

The big tree above in a grand non sequitor will not be logged but sad to say 800,000 tonnes of other native trees will be, every year for 20 years, as reported here at imc:

South Coast forest playground to be woodchipped 20 years by Carr govt, Dec 13 2004

Pic: A worker at the Davis and Herbert sawmill at Narooma. The biggest producer of sawn hardwood timber on the NSW south coast, Davis and Herbert will receive 72,000 cubic metres per year of sawlogs from State forests. Photo Forests NSW Image Library.

A couple of years ago the Davis site manager near Nowra told me they used 50%plantation pine. The other 50% is natural forest. Now with this Carr govt 'resource security' logging for 20 years in public land from our beautiful south coast forests another 2 times that 72K will go in woodchips or sawdust because that's how the logging works : Total 210K cubic metre/year for 20 years. Goodbye water catchment.

Here is an extract from the state logging agency:

bush telegraph magazine Forests NSW Summer 2004 at http://www.forest.nsw.gov.au/bush/summer04/default.asp

[cover has provocative leaf litter shot in the classic bushfire season. First item on front cover list - 'Planning a native forest harvest' featuring compartment compartment 102 Chichester State Forest, hard up against the boundary of Barrington Tops National Park and Wilderness area.]

page 4 story,

20-year supply agreement boosts south coast timber industry


New South Wales Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, has announced a 20-year wood supply agreement that will underpin employment and investment in the NSW south coast timber industry.

Under the agreement, Forests NSW will supply Davis and Herbert Pty Ltd with 72,000 cubic metres of sawlogs a year.

Davis and Herbert operates three mills at Narooma, Batemans Bay and Nowra producing a wide range of products for structural and specialised industrial uses.

'Davis & Herbert is by far the largest producer of sawn hardwood timber products on the south coast,' Mr Macdonald said. 'In total this industry provides direct employment for some 1,150 people locally and generates direct economic benefit to the south coast regional economy of more than $75 million a year.

'This wood supply contract will provide the company with unprecedented security for its south coast hardwood operations.

'The agreement provides a long-term supply and a secure platform from which the industry can move forward with security and confidence.

'By extending the long-term security of supply to a range of sawlog quality grades, Davis & Herbert will have the certainty of a legally binding supply agreement for its raw material.

A worker at the Davis and Herbert sawmill at Narooma. The biggest producer of sawn hardwood timber on the NSW south coast, Davis and Herbert will receive 72,000 cubic metres per year of sawlogs from State forests. Photo Forests NSW Image Library

'The new arrangements are the result of work by Government and industry to create a long-term vision for the south coast timber processing sector.

'I am pleased that this company has embraced this opportunity to secure its long-term future and I congratulate them.

'This agreement is a big step forward in reinforcing the balance created by the Southern Region Forest Agreement between conservation within the comprehensive south coast reserve system and the need to provide security of supply so industry can continue to invest and generate employment.'

Bill Frew
Public Affairs, Sydney

 

as corroborated by the govt in this story :

Govt notice in SMH today advises intense logging for South Coast article on IMC dated 17th Dec 2004

SMH govt logging notice today reads logging intensity on South Coast to increase as per NE/Eden weaker forest protections. This is another extremely blatant breach of the Carr government's election promise to the Greens in 1995 to end woodchipping by the year 2000. Carr's credibility on forests is similarly woodchipped for killing half NSW forest

At page 18, SMH 17/12/2004 by Dept of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources

In part

'Amended Instrument No.1 for the IFOA [NSW Integrated forestry operations approval] for the Southern region commenced on 31 May 2004. The principal aim of the amendments was to ensure that logging operations in the South Coast subregion could be carried out under similar conditions to those for the Upper North East and Lower North East regions. They facilitate logging operations for the purpose of timber production near certain areas in which forestry operations are significantly restricted. Other miscellaneous amendments were included such as amendments to prohibit the harvesting of timber for use in charcoal production.'

A plain english interpretation of the bit about facilitating forestry near areas previously significantly restricted means more vicious logging in areas previously protected on the south coast, so that this puts South Coast 'under similar conditions' to those in the UNE and LNE of NSW.

It also appears to be that these amendements to the IFOA have taken place much earlier 2004 and regardless of peak body NSW Nature Conservation Council sponsored, govt funded, workshops held along the east coast in the last 2 months to determine the future direction of the IFOAs.

Thirdly the fact harvesting is prohibited 'for use in charcoal production' as a result of the trenchant campaign against the Mogo Charcoal factory is small comfort if the forest is still logged 2/3 by volume for woodchips.

Lastly this is another extremely blatant breach of the Carr government's election promise in 1995 to end woodchipping by the year 2000, if not already well and truly discredited, must now be totally discredited.

The IFOA notice in the SMH today follows recent revelations from the Forestry NSW's current Bush Telegraph summer edition that 20 year logging resource security has been granted to Davis and Herbert mill out of public forests. Normal industry ratio's would see over 200,000 cubic metres of native woodchips and logs generated every year from the South Coast for that mill alone.

Tom McLoughlin, ecology action

tel. 0410 558838

17/12/04

 

The more general public policy grounds why this outcome is wrong can be found from this 1991 primary policy document from The Wilderness Society, reprinted at:

'Resource Security': a corrupt public policy to appease woodchippers' article dated 18th Dec 2004

Blast from the past, re-release from Ecology Action re
Resource Security Brief via The Wilderness Society file 1991, that helped defeat this insidious corporate agenda. But the horrifying policy is back .... wrong then, wrong now.

Resource Security .. Brief

[By The Wilderness Society, 1991 that helped defeat this insidious corporate agenda in 1990-91. But the horrifying menace is back...]

What Does It Really Mean?

THE TERM 'RESOURCE SECURITY' refers to government mechanisms for guaranteeing timber companies the right to continue logging priceless native forests through the creation of permanent logging zones. Publicly-owned forest resources will be alienated for control by private companies, mainly to feed huge export woodchip projects and new export pulpmills.
'Resource security' is fast becoming known as 'nature destruction'. If it continues to be adopted by State Governments or the Federal Government it will forever deny Australians the chance to properly protect our native forests.
It is being proposed in the form of new legislation, agreements between the Federal and State Governments, and commercially binding 'wood supply agreements' between government and private companies [like Davis/Herbert mill, NSW South Coast announced Nov. 2004].
The Federal Government's proposals have been put together in total secrecy. A Federal Cabinet committee chaired by Senator John Button is planning to present the issue for a Government decision without public debate or consultation .. the Government fears the public backlash. [Even Senator Button was later quoted around 1993 as calling the woodchip industry 'a bastard of an industry'].

These are ten things we will lose forever if 'resource security' goes ahead ...

1. New Forest National Parks or Reserves

AUSTRALIA'S CURRENT FOREST RESERVE system is totally inadequate to protect the full range of known native forest values. Scientists warn of species extinctions and loss of biological diversity. Resource security would irreversibly freeze this inadequate system.
If 'resource security' had been adopted 20 years ago, we would have no Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, no protected rainforest areas in northeast NSW, no Tasmanian World Heritage forest areas.

2. Our Ability To Plan For Our Children

'RESOURCE SECURITY' WILL MEAN a once and for all assessment of forest areas. Australia will be unable to react to future scientific information due to decisions made at a time when the full extent of our forest ecosystems was not even known. [Also greenhouse carbon storage issues arise etc.] Two Federal Government nature inventories, the National Forest Inventory and the National Wilderness Inventory, are not even close to completion. [Similarly new studies are very patchy and ignore invertebrates.]
'Resource security' will pre empt this entire information gathering exercise. With 'resource security' the amount of logging in the next 10 to 15 years will effectively wipe out Australia's remaining forests of high naturalness .. they will be lost before even today's children have a chance to experience them.

3. A Democratic Say Over Our Forests

THIS IS A SECRETIVE INITIATIVE, attempting to 'outlaw' the rising tide of community concern for forest protection. 'Resource security' can only lead to increased public concern and conflict. Despite the importance of the Australian people knowing what is happening in its forests, forest management will be even more closed to public scrutiny.
We will continue to lose control over our heritage as public resources are converted to private assets .. without guarantee of environmental security or economic return.

4. Faith In The Government's Ability To Protect The Environment

'RESOURCE SECURITY' DOES MORE than just sacrifice the non-wood values of our natural forests. It undermines completely the Hawke Government's attempts to gain consensus on environment issues in Australia .. through inquires like the Resource Assessment Commission [Clive Hamilton was director of research] and the Ecologically Sustainable Development process.
'Resource security' will render these inquiries meaningless and confirm the growing skepticism in which many environment groups hold the Federal Government's commitment to these processes. What is worse, it will override what little protection there is for the environment at a Federal level through legislation like the Australian Heritage Commission Act and Environmental Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act.

5. Guaranteed Investment In Exchange For Resources

THE LOGGING INDUSTRY has gained commitments to 'resource security' through investment blackmail .. by promising anywhere between $1.8 and $4.8 billion of investment will not proceed without it. In fact, the industry has always had the equivalent of 'resource security' through its contracts but little or no investment has taken place.
Australians have no guarantee investment will proceed. The National Association of Forest Industries has said: Although the industry would tell the government investment would not go ahead without resource security, it could not guarantee that investment would go ahead if resource security was in place. That would depend on 'market' forces.
Eden based Japanese woodchipping company Daishowa has stated that developments such as pulpmills would not be economically viable in Australia even with resource security guarantees.

6. Financial Security In Public Forest Management

HAND IN HAND with 'resource security' will go the risk of industry demands for compensation when its proposed investments do not proceed. Taxpayers' money is the only possible source for this compensation. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the National Association of Forest Industries has said if its operations prove unprofitable, it will expect government to provide either more forests, subsidies for greater intensity of logging, or public compensation.

7. Considered Economic Planning

FEDERAL CABINET has already said that at the very least it will give fast track approval to specific projects and companies 'requiring resource security'. The most likely first proposal is a huge bleached eucalypt kraft pulpmill in Tasmania .. the 'Son of Wesley Vale' project.
As with Sydney's monorail and harbour tunnel, fast tracking of this pulpmill proposal involves private deals and the commitment of vast public resources for little public gain, and without taking into account the full range of community needs or the conservation values of the area concerned.

8. Micro-economic Reform And Fair Competition

'RESOURCE SECURITY' makes no economic sense. For years the Federal Government has stated its commitment to restructuring the logging industry, microeconomic reform, greater competitiveness, and a shift to plantation resources. 'Resource security' amounts to promises to a few select companies of windfall profits from guaranteed access to public forests. This restrictive trade practice will halt microeconomic reform by locking the industry into current unsustainable practices.

9. Incentive for Real Resource Security!

THE ONLY REAL FORM of 'resource security' for the logging industry is plantations, grown on a sustainable basis by the industry itself. Already, the real basis of the world's unstable paper industry is becoming higher quality, low cost eucalypt plantations in Brazil, Spain, Spain and Portugal, to be followed by existing Australian plantations as they come on stream.
At the moment, 'resource security' is really a guarantee of continued access and rockbottom prices for Japanese woodchipping interests, and of free land for future pulpwood plantations .. even though enough existing plantation resources and cleared land are available to support a domestic, ecologically sustainable paper industry.

10. Environmental Security In Many Other Areas

THE QUESTION of forest 'resource security' is just the beginning. Already, the mining industry is beginning to lobby for similar legislation, and other resource industries are guaranteed to follow suit. 'Resource security' cold see entrenched every unsustainable use of the land, [river], sea and air still tolerated today.

What You Can Do!

1. Express you opposition now to Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, Parliament House, Canberra 2000.
2. Write to your daily or local newspaper
3. Join the Wilderness Society .. or better still, become an active member by contacting your nearest branch

Pic: Protesting Bob Carr's broken no woodchipping for the South Coast promise outside a regional cabinet meeting Sept 2004 in Wollongong. Source TWS website

.......................................

Don't assume Woodford doesn't know all this chronology of pro high volume woodchipping of South East NSW. He does. His stories generally pull punches on the trend and context of ongoing forest destruction in NSW and whether by his choice or his editor they are usually light puffy pieces. To do otherwise would for a start close down ministerial access and he needs the work.

Also the freezing out of any public critic of the government is legendary in NSW whether it be from the charity, welfare, environment and almost certainly other sectors.

Remember the name the next natural history story you read in the Sydney Morning Herald, then go look on imc or somewhere, anywhere for the other 9/10 of the Carr govt story.

[Jan 2008 postscript: It has since been revealed in the last 2 years say 2005 onward that James Woodford married his second wife the PR officer for NSW State Forests logging agency, which spouse then moved on to work for the NSW Govt Sydney Catchment Authority. The suspicion is that Woodford compromised his reportage to placate/appease the domestic front. If true it is very sad for an ex greenie TEC project officer from 1992 in the case of Woodford, but even worse for the destruction of forests itself. As we understand it there is a blacklist on Woodford by the independent sections of the forest conservation movement in South East NSW.]

 

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