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30/1/99...The REAL Carr govt on forest protection and destruction, prelude to 1999 election

Forest verdict: ALP treachery and 20 years of woodchipping, eco-cide & hard labour

By Tom McLoughlin, Friends of the Earth (Sydney), forest campaign policy officer Bsc/Llb(hon)


30th January 1999

As the new boss of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Don Henry, recently put it "our job is to tell the truth". So after seven years of personal struggle and experience here is my report back of the recent Carr ALP Government's forestry decisions for Eden and NE management areas: The good, the bad and the very ugly. You will see that a theme running through this report - after 3 years of government sponsored consultations - is that under the current ALP government far more forest will be destroyed than protected given the "resource security" logging/woodchipping guarantees for 20 years which passed the NSW Parliament in December 1998.

Background

Every discussion on forests should recall that only half Australia's forest remains since 1788, that this covers a mere 5% of our landmass in the driest inhabited continent, with four fifths of that forest available for logging or clearing (RAC 1992). For such a large continent we have very little forest to squander or mistreat.

In NSW the Coalition were in power in NSW from 1988-1995 under Greiner and then Fahey. The time was characterised by wanton logging and disregard for environmental values of forests including large intact areas ("wilderness"), old growth and endangered fauna. Many successful blockades state-wide, and litigation (re NE forests e.g. Chaelundi) were conducted amongst great controversy. This controversy finally resulted in the Coalition backing down on their draconian "resource security" type natural resources legislative package in late 1992. The irony of this will become clear below in relation to the so called green credentials of the NSW ALP.

During this period the NSW ALP were astute in flaming public outrage and sought to position itself as an environmentally friendly Opposition under Bob Carr (the ALP's ex environment minister in 1988 before the ALP lost power, and an original ALP Right mate). For instance Carr wrote to FoE (and no doubt others) in April 1990 in terms of the "imperative of environmentalism" and that NSW "has lost three quarters of its rainforests, two thirds of its overall forest systems" etc. In similar vein ALP parliamentarians (and later planing and forestry ministers) Knowles and Yeadon reported to Parliament in November 1992 in relation to the south east forests of their concern that whenever

"a State Forest is identified as [environmentally significant, the state forest agency] seemingly coincidental, devalues the subject area … We note ….the preliminary clearing of Compartment 1402 [Nalbaugh SF, Coolangubra wilderness]."

The hypocrisy of these statements will become apparent below.

Also during this chaotic period the self -contradictory National Forest Policy (1992) was signed by Australian Governments of both ALP and Coalition flavour . The NFP falsely claimed to lay a framework for the twin goals of ethical conservation and an expanded native forest wood products sector. In reality the twin goals are mutually exclusive as they demand protection or logging of the same high wood volume, fertile forest areas. The Wilderness Society was notable at the national level for their lonely condemnation of the NFP. In hindsight with the NFP having been signed one could say the dye was cast as far back as 1992.

By the time of the NSW election in March 1995 Bob Carr as opposition leader for the ALP was actively responding to private polling and intense environment group grassroots action. Carr's election team brokered a "forest peace plan" involving a narrow but very influential group of players in the NSW forest debate including some peak environment group representatives and other political campaigners, unionists, and Parliamentary ALP. The deal promised much and though this writer was deliberately excluded from discussions, the formula under Carr who obviously understood the ecological issues, looked good:

  •  an end to woodchipping by 2000 thus removing the disaster of high intensity integrated clearfelling
  • protection of high conservation value forests (old growth, wilderness, endangered species); and
  • $60 million of existing state environmental funds for worker retraining , redeployment, restructuring (later doubled to $120 million by Federal contributions) to make the whole thing politically viable;
  • enforce the existing provisions of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979, maintain third party rights over implementation and operation of forest plans

Sadly the outcomes from the Carr Labor Party in power from 1995 to the present (see below) reveals these promises were a treacherous confidence trick and the environment movement as gullible dupes. Perhaps in hindsight the clues were there: In 1995 logging of Deua Wilderness only stopped after direct challenge of forestry minister advisers by this writer; Under the ALP the nemesis of forest protection, Hans Drielsma, director of the state logging agency was retained for an incredible 12 months until 1996 when really his position was totally inconsistent with his previous political behaviour and the governments election platform.

It was in this early phase that in a private meeting with environmentalists new Forestry Commissioner Bob Smith made the astounding admission that there is "no scientific benchmarking of ecologically sustainable native forest logging" . This compared to the decades of dishonest PR to the contrary from industry figures still going on today.

Finally by September 1996 a "quick and dirty" interim assessment of high conservation value forests likely to be needed for reservation was finally undertaken and some significant forest areas were denoted for national park and wilderness reservation or logging moratorium. The confidence trick (explained further below) was now well primed as The Wilderness Society gave honourary life membership to Premier Carr and Environment Minister Pam Allan (now presumably divorced by TWS after Carr's "betrayal": TWS media release 10/11/98 ).

A longer 3 year CRA (Comprehensive Regional Assessment of environmental, social and economic factors) under the NFP was then undertaken (1996-1998) for part of the south east (Eden), Upper & Lower north east forests. The Government funded green group participation in these CRA's and kept our best organisers and campaigners tied up for the best part of 3 years with paper work doing battle with professional paper pushing bureaucrats and the three supervising ministers Craig Knowles (Planning), Kim Yeadon (forestry) and Pam Allan (environment). The environment group negotiators report the resultant scientific data is very good but also that cynical politics has triumphed over the science. Public statements by scientist Professor Harry Recher bear this out. Even so the government with brazen dishonesty quoted eminent environmental groups and individuals in its media kit as endorsing the whole process in order to imply support for the final outcomes.

The final outcomes of these 3 detailed CRA's are contained in the Forestry and National Park Estate Act 1998 (NSW) covering the Eden, Lower & Upper North East Forest areas. (The NSW south coast or "southern CRA" region and Western CRA region are still in the pipeline.) The Act reveals the treachery of Bob Carr particularly when measured against the ALP's forest election platform summarised above. There is a strong suspicion the whole shape of the policy decision is designed to attract the swinging One Nation voting block. When the ALP inevitably seeks the environmental vote one only needs to consider the "abysmal" outcomes (below) for the three critical forest regions and the draconian features of the Forestry Act 1998 (see box 1) supported by the ALP and Coalition and opposed by Greens and Democrats. Now senior campaigners from various environment groups agree the ALP and Coalition have nothing separating them in terms of threat to forests (see box 2).

The writer was present in the public gallery in the Legislative Council chamber of Parliament when the Bill was voted on in mid Dec 1998. It was a harrowing experience watching decades of public support and awareness raising being ignored by the great majority of politicians who mainly in blissful ignorance chatted and smiled and simply toed the party line. Hardened campaigners cried including this writer, Ian Cohen MLC had to stop mid speech for several minutes.

Significantly not all the labour movement in NSW is prepared to sing Bob Carr and minister's treacherous song. Labor controlled local councils like Newcastle have rebuffed industry player Boral - a prime mover behind the ALP Forestry Act with a ban on Boral's products (from late 1998). ALP dominated Waverley Council in Sydney's east has specifically rejected the north east forest outcome and neighbouring Randwick was only prevented by a procedural technicality. (Waverley and Randwick cover the marginal seat of Coogee.) The 50,000 strong NSW Teachers Federation has similarly rejected the outcome at their Nov 1998 annual conference. Interestingly the South Coast Labor Council also endorsed the conservationist option for the Eden management area in mid 1998 but rumour has it they were over ruled at state Labor Council level after manoeuvring by the logging union.

There is little doubt the broader community do not share the values reflected in the legislated decisions of the Carr ALP Government (see box 3 re democratic expression thwarted) who effectively have destroyed their moral authority on forest issues. With the ALP machine men realising this the public have recently been treated to the spectacle of dishonest political advertising on public buses (and elsewhere) "Helping trees and jobs live together" all at taxpayer expense in an attempt to dupe the public before the March 1999 state election. If one listened to Carr alone one might mistakenly believe he achieved a world class environmental decision (see box 4).

NSW based industry group Forest Products Association's line has been very astute. In short it argues the environmentalists got a massive victory but still they the FPA will be gracious and accept the outcome anyway. In truth their chief lobbyist Colin Dorber could hardly contain his glee before the TV cameras and in one radio interview let slip that it was "almost a miracle". Even more astute was the logging union which manipulated the Parliamentary Labor Party and labour colleagues with the threat to quit the ALP out of dissatisfaction. Union boss Gavin Hillier (on record for supporting machinery sabotage: ABC Background Briefing 1995) manufactured a perfect counter weight to the fact of spontaneous deep regret and dismay of environmentalists which was gathering momentum in the broad media, and effectively short circuited any possible wavering or backdown in the face of public pressure by the ALP based on their election platform, science, logic or common decency. Hillier's media strategy exploited the clichéd orthodoxy that if there appears to be broad dis-satisfaction amongst stakeholders then the government has probably got the compromise right. This writer observed the union and industry lobbyists in the Parliamentary public gallery over many hours and can report they very happy with the Forestry Act, in fact as the cats that got the cream. This confirmed to this writer more than anything unionist Hillier's supreme cynicism and his collaboration in the promotion of the native forest woodchipping sector. Both he and Dorber got more than they ever hoped for &endash; indeed it was a miracle of enormous cynical proportions.

South East forests - Eden management area outcomes
Sources: TWS, NPA media releases, NSW Govt media kit dated 26 Oct 1998, etc

  • an extra 37,000 hectares on top of the stage 1 areas (39,000 ha) announced in 1996 bringing the south east forest parks in this term of government to 76,000 hectares and 134,000 hectares overall.
  • Protection of the majority of Coolangubra and all of Tantawangalo forests
  • 20 years of future clearfelling and high intensity woodchipping still running at 90% of all trees logged in the region going to foreign based multinational Daishowa, currently 345,000 tonnes per year;
  • 25,000 m3 of sawlog quota per year with minor reductions after 5 years
    - partial protection only for habitat of icon species such as Koalas (39% of habitat), Tiger Quoll, Southern Brown Bandicoot and rare Owl species;
  • no protection for poorly reserved coastal forest in areas like Broadwater;
  • no protection for 15,000 ha of Old Growth in public forest including cathedral areas like Compartment "1402" and other parts of Nalbaugh State Forest forming the western side of Coolangubra Wilderness, and Old Growth in the Cathcart area - all left out of reservations
  • no guarantee of flexibility in future resource contracts over public forest - given the community's legitimate interest in rights of review, and rights to contract variation based on new information.
  • less than 50% of "Brogo Wilderness/Wadbilliga NP Extensions" protected
  • ironically 30 of the 49 new timber jobs are based on existing plantations
  • micro investment of $6 million in a value added timber mill at Eden
  • pre-emptive "theft" of 2000 m3 per year of timber from adjoining southern CRA region
  • completely ignores the 32,000 ha of softwood plantations at Bombala worth hundreds of millions of dollars and producing by 2000 a massive 250,000 m3 sawlogs and 300,000 m3 of chips

    comment on the south east outcomes

    The writer has significant experience of SE forest campaigning since 1992 both in the forest, court dock and office based. Since 1989 over 1000 people have been arrested in the south east protesting the native forest woodchipping by foreign company Daishowa.

    There was foreboding in 1997 when the NSW ministers indicated it was creating as a matter of politics, and not science, a minimum wood volume of 20,000 m3 per year sawlog volume for the industry. This volume was trivial compared with the plantation sector's output of 250,000 m3 per year in the general region but a potential conservation disaster for remnant old growth and endangered fauna in the south east. Nevertheless conservationists in its submission to government on this part of the south east forests near Eden.

    75% of submissions totalling 16,000 letters supported the conservationist option which included an unprecedented concession of light logging zone for small sawmillers and endorsement of the South Coast Labor Council. Expectations were justifiably high that Carr would deliver on his election platform to end native forest woodchipping and "save the forests" referred to in his victory speech election night March 25th 1995.

    Initially when the Eden decision came down on 26th October 1998 sections of the environment movement wanted to pull its punches in media comment. They were nervous about damaging the pending north east decision. Most environment groups including FoE initially issued statements giving cautious praise to the government However TWS, NSW National Parks Association, FoE, and 4 other regionally based groups eventually concluded that implicit in the south east outcome was the Government's thinking generally on forests. The perception was reinforced by the deliberate inclusion of symbolic old growth areas like "1402" and Cathcart on the logging schedule. On 2nd Nov. these green groups strongly criticised the decision as breaking promises, entrenching woodchipping, leaving old growth to be logged and threatening endangered species habitat. The government unsuccessfully tried to gag the NPA, falsely claim clearfelling doesn't happen anymore, and mislead with false claims greenies were now trying to lock up private land.


Postscript: Politicians to date have a misguided obsession with propping up the native forestry sector and its trivial timber (as opposed to woodchip) outputs. Yet the real action is elsewhere. Some 7 weeks after the Eden Decision, the Federal Government announced in mid December 1998 its contribution of $40 million assistance to Dick Pratt's Visy Industries to develop a $450 million plantation based, chlorine free pulp mill at Tumut creating 1000 jobs. (Apparently the NSW government is contributing another $60 million.) In another development the South East Forest Alliance have signalled a blockade of logging for the southern CRA region before the election. It's FoE's view that blockades are in order in every koala and other endangered fauna habitat in the south east near Eden and further north. Lastly a well attended public meeting in Bega in mid November expressed its utter rejection of Daishowa in the public forests of the south east region and contempt for Bob Carr's broken promises.

See box 5 for an expose of the plantation industry versus the economically minuscule native forest sawlog industry.


Upper and Lower North East - outcomes

Sources: North East Forest Alliance negotiators report, government media kit dated 12 Nov 1998 etc:

  • of the 1.2 million hectares of forest in the north east scientifically identified as being needed for a comprehensive adequate and representative forest reserve system only 380,000 hectares is to be protected. [Note NSW is 80 million hectares in size.] 100 new staff for NPWS.
  • allows 238,000 hectares of old growth forest and 56,000 hectares of formally identified wilderness to be logged. Parts of the famous Chaelundi area described as a veritable arboreal zoo by Judge Stein sitting in the Land & Environment Court in 1991 will be logged;
  • Another 160,000 ha of intact forest satisfying wilderness criteria but ignored by government released for logging.
  • commits for 20 years 129-140,000 tonnes of swallows per year and even bigger volumes again of woodchips per year to industry. $53 million for industry ($18 million is for private land purchase including to clear for plantations).
  • ironically 67 of the 105 new industry jobs are plantation related.
    - by comparison with other CRAs around Australia, this outcome is probably the worst yet.
  • 60%of areas identified by scientists as likely to be required for a reserve system are released for logging
  • the great majority of conservation features including Old Growth and forest eco-systems are below scientific targets agreed as part of the National Forest Policy process.

    comment on the north east outcomes

    There is a great fear of an expansion of the woodchipping industry in the whole north east to rival the intense clear felling already experienced in the south east where 9 out of 10 trees are woodchipped with only a few habitat trees and filter strips left exposed. Already there is speculation Boral the current woodchipping company is about to sellout to North Ltd &endash; probably the most evil nature exploiting company Australia has ever produced with subsidiaries involved at Ranger and Jabiluka uranium ventures, and woodchip destruction of Tasmanian wilderness forest.

    Boral has been losing money from native forest logging which itself is only 32% of the timber industry in NSW and is being increasingly replaced by plantation supplies. To indicate perhaps just how dirty the whole conservation decision has been, in December 1998 the state forest agency approved continued logging of the few new national parks in waiting in the north east until forced out by environmental blockaders. North East Forest Alliance and others have indicated a whole new wave of protests from here on.

    The conventional wisdom is that the whole sellout of the NE Forests was to appease rural ALP MP Harry Woods who has changed direction in recent years from environmental sympathiser at the Federal level to redneck cynic at the state level. There is also strong suspicion the ALP sought to out redneck the new One Nation rural base. Credence for this comes from the inflammatory inclusion of symbolic Chaelundi in the logging schedule.

    This redneck approach may have all backfired electorally as the new Federal Forestry Minister Wilson Tuckey, a fearsome redneck in his own right, cancelled $40 million of industry restructuring funds for NSW in late Nov 1998 because the national parks are said to be too big (not!). Tuckey argues with loose logic this forces higher intensity logging outside the reserves. Tuckey's argument reflects his riding instructions from the national industry body NAFI (and its PR front deceptively called Forest Protection Society) referring to emerging but weak international certification (read marketing) rules to promote NSW access to international markets on condition logging can be passed off as "sustainable".

    FoE has some leverage here on the international scene (see box 8) with some capacity to expose the unsustainability of NSW forestry and blocking international sales until it is. For instance NSW environmentalist Keith Muir makes the sobering point that for every hectare of wilderness protected, another five is now available for logging (SMH 17/11/98).

    Photo with caption: stump of an 800 year old Turpentine rainforest species, logged by Boral in May 1998 at Ballengarra State Forest NE NSW. Plenty more trees will cop this treatment under the Carr's "green" forest decision.


Box 1: Evil Forestry and National Park Estate Act 1998 (NSW)
What's wrong with the new forest law affecting 3 CRA regions (Eden, Upper North East, Lower North East)? Advice from the Environmental Defenders Office and other experienced commentators indicate

  • it negates the public right to participate in key decisions over public forest
  • removes NPWS emergency powers to issue stop work orders
  • gives Ministers discretion to make secret changes to licences issued under environmental laws and to forest agreements with commercial players
  • removes any further environmental impact assessment under the EP&A Act 1979
  • extinguishes public's right (of the last 20 years) to seek court enforcement of environmental laws (e.g. water pollution, disruption of endangered species) in public forests
  • retreats from wilderness protection by increasing the threshold area from 8,000 ha (5,000 ha on the coast) to 15,000 ha. Bob Carr was the original sponsor of the Wilderness Act 1987
  • specifically releases for logging and woodchipping hundreds of thousands of hectares areas of old growth and wilderness including icon areas like Chaelundi and "1402" containing massive cathedral like heritage trees.
  • On 22nd Dec 1998 the Daily Telegraph reported "The State forestry authority was fined $5,800 after pleading guilty to two logging breaches … relating to a rainforest and an area near a watercourse, both in the Whian Whian State Forest near Lismore. The prosecution was launched by the National Parks and Wildlife Service after complaints by conservationists." The new Forestry Act makes such prosecutions unlikely in the future. Similarly incidents like the infamous 90,000 tonnes of soil erosion in Oakes State Forest prosecuted in 1994 is unlikely to be penalised in the future.

    The Carr government's protection in 4 years of 426,000 hectares (ha) of forest in the north east and 80,000 ha in the south east (including 140,000 ha threatened wilderness), plus 400,000 ha of other non-forest reserves (all in 151 new parks) looks impressive on the surface. But this forest decision was to be a historic, once in a generation final resolution. Even the government's scientists wanted a further 820,000 ha of forests in north east NSW and a further 45,000 thousand ha in the south east for a viable reserve.

    Now an unprecedented 62% of our most unique forests in the north east and south east are subject to a 20 year "resource security" law for the woodchippers. Mr Carr has broken his election promise to stop export woodchipping by 2000. The government is negotiating right now with a subsidiary of North Ltd (the Jabiluka uranium miner) to woodchip the north east forests. Wilderness and old growth like Chaelundi and compartment "1402" in Coolangubra, previously protected by numerous court decisions, stop work orders and peaceful protests, are to be logged soon by multi-nationals Daishowa and Boral. Mr Carr has dumped endangered fauna, water and soil erosion laws and third party rights in these public forests.

 

Box 2. The Lib/Nat-Labs not so different on forest destruction

There is compelling common ground between the Liberal-National Coalition and ALP parties on forest issues at both NSW and Commonwealth level according to John Corkhill of North East Forest Alliance. The following list was tabled at the NSW Forest Summit of environment groups Dec 1998.

They all support/want:

 

  1. more woodchipping and new export licences
  2. to log national parks
  3. grant of resource security to the timber industry
  4. entrenching unsustainable logging levels and intensities
  5. subsidising the timber industry with public money
  6. to ignore scientific forest assessments
  7. to use bodgy economic analyses to support their policies
  8. no (or bodgy) environmental impact assessments
  9. unenforceable environmental laws
  10. threatened species to count for less than "jobs"
  11. wilderness to go unprotected
  12. to mislead the public about their policies on the environment and forest protection

Box 3. Democratic message ignored

Recently FoE announced that 160,000 people mainly from NSW have now signed the Forest Protection Petition the text of which can be viewed on our web site at:

ozforestopetition1.jpg


The petition amongst other things promotes mixed species plantations using non toxic methods on existing cleared land and the use of plentiful existing plantation resource as a substitute for logging high conservation value native forest.

To reinforce this community support for forest reform a copy of the petition has been sent to all 397 NSW ALP branches. The A3 petition indicates on one of its sides the 130 endorsee groups including diverse ethnic religious and community groups, progressive businesses, students, teachers, NSW Aboriginal Land Council etc.

The petition was sent under cover of a letter to Senator Bob Brown regarding the disastrous forest decision in NSW contrary to the Carr election platform and industrious campaigning in favour of the ALP in 1995. The letter says in part "Bob Carr's forestry trio Kim Yeadon, Craig Knowles and Pam Allan have a political death wish. Their actions mean ever more native forest logging (read woodchipping) at the expense of tourism, water supply and soil stability, ultimately jobs, not to mention biological diversity. (That haunting 3 page feature in the [Financial Review] on Friday 16th October gives the variety of life only 50 years.)."


In addition to the FoE sponsored petition tens of thousand of other letters have been sent by NSW citizens in response to exhortations of the combined NSW Forest Alliance representing regional and peak environment groups. Recently Dr Keith Woollard representing 58 medical practitioners and formerly president of the Australian Medical Association announced "The survey's have shown that that most Australians want to protect these old growth forests….it is a community thing and we as medical practitioners are just part of the community expressing our concern."

Box 4.  "Why Carr's forest credentials are worthless"


This writer has been watching Carr's public statements on forest from before the March 1995 election. Once in power Carr set about identifying new national park areas in an ad hoc and opportunistic way. Some were quite large like the extension to outback Mungo NP, but the great majority was small fragmented areas with perhaps only a third having real forest cover. Nevertheless Carr was able to use Wran's infamous vomit principle (keep saying it until you feel like vomiting, to manipulate public opinion) to good effect. Over the last 2 years Carr stated at every doorstop and radio interview "X (being a large number, 151 at last count 12/11/98) new national parks have been created under my government. This is a world record etc."

Sadly Carr's boasting said nothing about

  • level of threat to commercially unviable forest included in small obscure new national parks; or
  • the extent of non-forest eco-systems in new national parks
  • forest actually logged during Carr's term, or
  • forest to be logged in the next 20 years under Carr's logging guarantees.

No wonder then possibly the oldest and biggest environment group in NSW, the National Parks Association called foul saying it wouldn't matter if Carr declared "500 national parks if they don't protect nature".

Apart from deliberately and dishonestly conflating the notion of "forest protection" with "new national park", the other variation on Carr's boasting was that his government had created one million hectares of reservations in NSW and this was a "world record". The Wilderness Society as quoted in Parliament by Ian Cohen MLC has shown convincingly using World Conservation Monitoring Centre figures that NSW as a unit is still behind 74 other countries in terms of terrestrial protected areas, and just below the 6. 29% of land area conserved on average per country. For the 4 year term of office Carr has made less significant conservation decisions than

  • Brazil (3.5 million ha in 1990, 6 million ha in 1979-82),
  • Indonesia (3 million ha in 1978-81,
  • 2.5 million ha in 1980-82),
  • Columbia (2 million ha, 1977).
  • Even in Queensland in one year 1977 a million hectares of national park was created, and in NT nearly a million hectares in 1990.
  • There is not space here to list other protection decisions in China,
  • USA (4 different states) or
  • Venezuela

that outstrip or equal Bob Carr's "world record" fantasy.



Box 5. Plantations: the real jobs and timber action.
The massive plantation investment at Tumut creating 1000 jobs and worth $450 million is the real identity of the NSW timber industry, not the fake PR created "Timber Towns" displaying the obscenity of felled Old Growth trees. There are many sustainability issues with the plantation sector but at least use of existing plantations avoid clearfelling of endangered native forest ecosystems for woodchips. Leading resource economist and ANU academic Ms Judy Clark makes the following points:

  •  68% of job creating, manufactured wood products in NSW &endash; such as sawn timber, wood panels, and pulp and paper &endash; are based on plantations and this trend is increasing. Conversely native forest sector value is decreasing
  • major plantings in the 1960's are coming on stream, with sawlog volumes projected to double in only 15 months.
  • Conservative estimates are that 3 million tonnes of plantation sawlogs are stockpiled in 12,000 hectares of plantations worth $100 million in royalties to the taxpayer and remain unharvested in NSW
  • NSW has 26% of Australia's extensive existing plantation estate over 300,000 hectares
  • Plantations account for about half the jobs in the industry with capacity for an additional 3000 direct jobs, many in regional NSW
  • The government must stop propping up the uncompetitive native forestry sector which is the equivalent of the typewriter industry, and stop frittering away NSW's resource advantage in plantations by exporting jobs by exporting plantation whole logs and plantation woodchips.


Box 6 Logger violence in Victoria increases as K. Clark halts Otways woodchipping

Even when the two old parties ALP and Coalition are against you forests can still be saved if the arguments behind your campaign are strong enough and the public are aware of the vandalism involved. Take the recent news that Kimberley Clark executives have confirmed on 11th December 1998 that they will no longer source native forest woodchips from the idylic Otway Ranges backing onto the Great Ocean Road and famous tourism destinations as Lorne and Torquay in Victoria.

The decision follows a consumer boycott campaign taken to schools, universities, councils, and others led by Otway Ranges Environment Network. On a more somber note K.C. are now likely to seek woodchips from the central highlands forests. More pressure is needed to force KC to use eucalypt plantation chips and/or recycled paper. What's even more disturbing is news of a crazed logger attacking protesters with an axe as they sat around their campfire on or about 3rd Dec 1998. This follows reports of gunshots at a greenie house in Orbost, and petrol thrown in the face of an environmentalist in East Gippsland. Regardless, campaigners are now researching an expose of the 80% woodchip driven native forest logging industry in the picturesque Otways.



Box 7 Logging lawsuit in the USA

Calling all environmental lawyers with deep pockets, and lots of time. Here's an example we might need in NSW. FoE in the United States has announced on 17th Dec 1998 they have joined other environmental groups in suing the US Forest Service for violating federal law there requiring it to consider the economic and social benefits of a standing forest before cutting the trees. "The goal of the lawsuit is to compel proper accounting"and "This case is really about jobs versus jobs" according to plaintiff lawyer Brian Dunkiel.

Uncut forests generate income through recreation, hunting, fishing, and tourism, according to the lawsuit. The Forestry Service must consider these values, as well as the economic costs of logging such as damage to water resources, and weigh them against the value of the timber industry, according to the suit. The list of plaintiffs includes a medicinal herb company in Indiana, an Arizona hunter arguing loss of income to guides, outfitters, equipment suppliers and others.

Bibliography: Resource Assessment Commission, Forest & Timber Inquiry Final Report (1992) AGPS Canberra.

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