Sydney Alternative Media - independent, community, non profit, trustworthy

Home newswire ecology action

26/4/04... Oz Forest and Woodland e zine #1

Dear recipient,

Apologies for any cross posting. Details for addition or deletion from this independent information service in the lead up to the Federal Election can be found at the bottom of the page. Submissions and feedback welcome. Brevity preferred. Good luck with your ecology action.

From the editor, ecology action sydney

Oz Forest & Woodland # 1, 26 April 2004

7 items

1. Crikey Sunday, 25 April, 2004, on Tas forest politics - going to 6,000 political and business subscribers nationally
2. Western Sydney’s ADI/Lend Lease bushland site0 to play significant role in pre federal election environmental atmospherics.
3. NSW Green Party/ngo on creeping commercialization of high class conservation zone
4. Green MLC sledged over heavy handed direct action tactics at the Domain
5. Important plantation economics talk with Dr Judy Clark 11th May at NSW Parliament
6. Southern NSW forest campaigners meeting looking like Sat 8th May
7. Bob Carr NSW Premier's ritual (hypocritical?) hand wringing holiday piece in the Herald today re greenhouse doom


1. Crikey Sunday, 25 April, 2004, going to 6,000 political and business subscribers, quoted in full here



"5. Green gazumping in the Apple Isle?
Mark Latham's visit to Tasmania to hug trees with Bob Brown has put the environment at the centre of national political debate in the lead up to the federal election – so Tasmanian Liberal Leader Rene Hidding’s weekend comments on shrubhugging deserve just as wide an audience.
Rene Hidding has sniffed the political breeze and realised that finding a solution to forestry practices in Tasmania is a "social problem" (his term) and cannot be decided on economics alone.
Up until know Hidding has been at the forefront of the "let science decide" brigade, led by such politically diverse figures as Premier and chainsaw enthusiast Paul Lennon and born-again Democrat Greg Barns. But, according to the Saturday Mercury, Hidding seems to be having second thoughts.
"It's become a social issue and there are expectations in the broader community that surely we should be able to find a way to get out of the clearfell, burn and sow techniques of harvesting," it has him saying.
The Mercury thinks that this is a far stronger statement than any given by the state government up to now – and they could be right.
Looking at it from a purely Tasmanian view, Hidding has merely restated the prevailing community attitude – but like the government all he has done is invest in a little wishin' and hopin' and prayin’ over clearfelling, not said that he was prepared to do anything about it.
What he has done, however, is finally say some words that give the majority of Tasmanians - and the majority do want changes to forestry management - something to think about. Up until now it had been the Liberals locked into Labor's policy.
Again, from the Tasmanian perspective, Hidding's move also needs to be examined mindful of the political reality in which the Liberals find themselves. And it is a very harsh reality. Last month's EMRS opinion poll had the Liberals at 19 per cent of the primary vote and Hidding on 17 per cent preferred premier. With those sort of popularity figures Hidding is in a nothing-to-lose situation; so why not change tack on forestry? Why not take advantage of Jim Bacon's departure and differentiate yourself from the government on a major policy issue?

Well, for starters, Hidding has been so staunchly pro-logging all his political life that he will have trouble selling his new face to the electorate. Who is going to believe he is serious? Who is going to believe he will deliver? The old proverb about leopards and spots will come to people's minds. To many it will smack of political expediency, which, of course, is exactly what it is.

Then there is Peter Gutwein – the publicly declared anti-clearfeller and leadership wannabe who Hidding banished from, then recently restored to, the Liberal front bench. Hidding had to have him back to save his own political skin and now we see the price that Gutwein extracted in the deal: Hidding had to go publicly soft on forestry.

But they're the Tasmanian perspectives. What about the national impact?
One normally doesn’t expect the leader of the opposition in Tasmania to be playing a role on the national political stage – but he may just have been given an incredible walk on role by a desperate PM.
Last week we spoke in the sealed section about some of the tensions implicit in the Iron Bark’s Tasmanian shrubhugging – not just between the federal and state leaders, but between the Federal leader and some of his more marginal backbenchers.
The potential for problems is enormous. Is Hidding positioning himself in advance of a pre-election announcement on forestry by Howard?
Maybe the rumours about secret meetings between Bill Heffernan and the green lobby were correct? Perhaps the Feds have had a quiet word to Hidding and told him to make sure he is in a position to support Howard – or at least make sure that Labor is left looking more embarrassed than the Coalition.
Anything is possible in this election year."



2. Western Sydney's ADI/Lend Lease bushland site to play significant role in pre federal election environmental atmospherics.

The Daily Telegraph has launched a series of colourful large scale articles campaigning both for full protection of this 1,545 ha site while at the same time sledging card carrying greenies for being 'lopsided' in their focus (a line picked up by Sally Loane 2BL). MHR Jackie Kelly and Premier of NSW have committed to supporting the Daily Terror – one wonders whether their tongue was firmly in their cheek given past positions of both state and federal governments.
The western Sydney marginal seat voters in the upcoming federal election will likely weigh this up along with other high profile environmental issues like the classic forests of Tasmania being woodchipped at the moment. Certainly the stage is being set for a Howard/local greenie soiree in those final hothouse weeks of an election campaign in critical Sydney electorate with the backing of the largest selling daily newspaper in the country. Refer articles with Kakadu like vistas in Terror 26/4/04, also 21/4/04 at p9 with opinion piece on editorial page by slick David Penberthy on p26, and Saturday 24/4/04.

These stories can probably be chased down on their web page: www.dailytelegraph.com.au

3. NSW Green Party rhetoric on creeping commercialization of high class conservation zones at:
 
Blue Mountains Blockade: On Now!

submitted by Cut'n'Paste digest

Hollywood movie types are all set up to steam into the Grose Valley in the Blue Mountains but heroic activists have created a blockade and will stop the film crews from desecrating the world-heritage listed area.

On The Blockade, Ian Cohen, Green MLC told the ABC: "We've got people who're experienced at building blockades and we've got people who're going to be moving around the site, so we've got a number of strategies which I won't detail right now."

"Certainly people who're up here are keen to make their presence felt."

Mr Cohen says the activists are prepared to do what they have to, to protect the environment: "It's a set up that could quite well stop them, hold them up for quite a while," he said.

"I don't see them getting trucks up this road in the next day or two. It'll be a bit of a standoff.

"If they do come up this far, they won't turn round because this part of the road's actually very steep and drops off like a cliff face."

The Hollywood people are attempting to make some movie called Stealth but residents don't want the big trucks plowing through the beautiful valley.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1094554.htm

and more general coverage of this Blue Mountains protest and management issue at http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/26/1082831477337.html




4. Ecology action Sydney sledge of Ian Cohen MLC over heavy handed direct action tactics during successful Clover Moore/Cr Harris campaign to save Heritage Figs in Sydney’s high profile Domain:

http://www.sydney.indymedia.org.au/front.php3?article_id=40938&group=webcast



5. Important plantation economics talk with Dr Judy Clark on the bill, at NSW Parliament 11th May, valued recently at around $1 billion and likely for the big chop

6.30 pm Tuesday 11 May 2004
Jubilee Room, Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney
(5 minutes walk from St James and Martin Place Railway Stations)

Hosted by Greens MP Lee Rhiannon. Chaired by John Kaye, Greens NSW Lead Senate Candidate. Speakers: Dr Judy Clark, Forestry Expert, ANU, Craig Smith, Secretary, Forestry Division, CFMEU

RSVP: 9230 3551 or linda.wilhelm@parliament.nsw.gov.au’

6. Another important date for forest activists re southern forests campaigners meeting looking like Sat 8th May probably to be held at Eden – contact martjan@bigpond.com, clare.mcveigh@wilderness.org.au, anne.gerry@bigpond.com,

7. Bob Carr NSW Premier's ritual existential hand wringing holiday profile in the Herald over greenhouse doom – the metaphorical equivalent of the Emperor fiddling while Rome burns ? Notice the Australia Institute at least partly funded Carr’s airfare to this UK conference – is there a post politics job application in there for Carr?

Refer: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/25/1082831434426.html

There are some great ways to address greenhouse in NSW: reverse the 8 million tonnes of forest woodchips ex NSW under Carr’s tenure since 1995 (refer ABARE statistics) and 1 million hectares of cleared woodland 1997-2002 (refer Herald 17th Nov 2003 article based on leaked report from NSW govt)


[To subscribe/unsubscribe to independent Oz Forest & Woodland send to ecologya [at] wix.com.au]

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

29/4/04... Oz Forest & Woodland # 2

 Dear recipient,

Apologies for any cross posting. Details for addition or deletion from this independent free information service in the lead up to the Federal Election and beyond can be found at the bottom of the page. Submissions and feedback welcome. Brevity preferred. Good luck with your ecology action.

From the editor, OF&W

7 items

1. Protection of Western Sydney’s ADI/Lend Lease bushland remains a strong focus of the Daily Telegraph
2. Heritage Figs in the Domain subject of an interim protection court order
3. Who is Ian Blackburne in charge of Domain Figs?
4. Cohen MLC mystery no.3?
5. Giant dragon fly and delicate rare plant to cop Stealth after media drops out
6. Kozciusko to cop bigger Perisher Blue despite Planning Inquiry against?
7. Landclearing and cover ups in NSW back to the bad old National Party days

1. Protection of Western Sydney’s ADI/Lend Lease bushland site of 1,545 ha remains a strong focus of the Daily Telegraph this week, largest selling daily newspaper in the country. Readers will know OzF&W view (item 2 #1OzF&W) the prominent coverage provides a perfect platform for Howard to step into the breach at a time of his choosing with some redemptive green posturing in those swinging critical Sydney marginals. Latham better brush up his forest promises, methinks (refer item 1 #1 OzF&W).

Certainly Lend Lease the developer are reacting to the Terror’s grassroots (read voters) coverage of local worthies e.g. crusading grandfather, and numerous vox pops from ‘westies’ and further abroad. Yesterday LL managed to get their own pictures in the Terror of the more degraded sites to offset earlier Kakadu style shots.

It remains to be seen how sustainable the Terror’s new green (redemptive?) zeal remains as young gun reporter, the talented Mr ‘Ripley’ err Penberthy revealed at least part of their motive was to sledge inner Sydney greenies preoccupation with a few heritage figs in the Domain mid April. Ripley has been in contact with OzF&W with some uncharitable things to say about Senator Nettle perhaps because he missed the senator’s good work exposing the LL profit taking on the ADI site - apparently while Ripley was in Cancun knocking knees with Emperor Rupert earlier this year.


2. Heritage Figs in the Domain are now the subject of an interim protection court order by the Land & Environment Court as a result of intervention by Sydney Council under a unanimous resolution from Mayor Moore (included ALP’s Michael Lee). Moore is looking more like Brisbane’s successful Jim Soorley every day . The argument goes back to court in a month or two.

The Council has expert Sir Mark Hartley, five times winner International Grand Award of Excellence in Arboriculture and a board member of National Arborists of Australia and of the International Society of Arboriculture.

Local freebie inner Sydney City News (which OzF&W is paid to deliver to defray our costs) carries a story p18 May 2004 thus: ‘The pressure is on the Botanic Gardens Trust to find alternative sources of income as its debt is increasing and there is no relief in sight from NSW Treasury …disgrace … enormous trees to be chopped down just so the Domain can squeeze more people in and make more money’: Lee Rhiannon MLC, Greens.

It seems even Ros Packer and hubby were annoyed and considered a little tree sitting: See SMH in the weekend Sauce 24/4/02 at: http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2004/04/23/1082616326295.html

3. Who is Ian Blackburne Chair of RBGT in charge of Domain Figs?

OzF&W got this intriguing email from our Botany Bay spy about the changes at the top at the Sydney Botanic Gardens dated way back on 23/9/03 which does not inspire confidence over master plans etc:

“This is a reference to Ian Blackburne - Chairman of Ansto, Chairman of the Botanic Gardens, ex CEO of Caltex. Responsible for protecting his patch of petroleum industry to great detriment to environment. CEO during period of price-fixing and so on......Having him as CHairman of Botanic Gardens Trust is like having an ex high ranking SS officer in charge of a Jewish Museum.

http://www.business.uq.edu.au/staff/adjuncts/blackburn.phtml “ [quote ends].

4. Cohen MLC mystery no.3?

Fallout from the (mostly) successful Domain Figs protest has been a stoush between two long time forest campaigners over what was said between them on top two captured logging machines. It could make good fodder for one of those low budget plays in Newtown with paper mache props etc like the old K2 play. One of the protagonists (actually this editor of OzF&W) is suspicious that his address was mysteriously and pre-emptively delisted (mystery no.1) from an email service for defying an improper direction (mystery no.2) from Ian Cohen MLC, Greens. OzF&W in fact is partly inspired by the Domain conflagration amongst ‘friends’ like a phoenix from the ashes of a non existent working relationship.

The anon spinners (Cohen staffers?) and rebuttals and can be seen at:

http://www.sydney.indymedia.org.au/front.php3?article_id=40938

Interestingly OzF&W understands on April 14th a groups meeting of Botany Bay & Catchment Alliance representing some 30 local groups met prior to the Parliamentary Inquiry and concurrent Commission of Inquiry in Port Botany expansion: It’s a very hot issue for Sydney amenity with truck transport proposed to triple. The very experienced and effective spokesperson for BBACA related a troubling phone conversation with Cohen MLC where the latter shouted down the phone at him haranguing Mr BBACA on a misconceived basis (mystery no. 3) and then proceeded to describe the awesome wave running in Byron as if it were a higher priority.

5. Giant dragon fly and delicate rare plant to cop Stealth after media drops out

A snippet in the SMH yesterday reported 7 or so protesters against a Hollywood Stealth movie to arguably damage Blue Mountains wilderness park were arrested with no indication of weakening govt resolve unlike the Domain Fig clash. What a difference a Clover Moore mayoralty makes. However the presentation for protesters in Sydney heartland media was not helpful. Their spokesperson on ABC prime time news was plodding at best albeit earnest, more suited to campfire or back room, and radio grabs by comrade Cohen MLC were possibly carrying some baggage? The ongoing and highly visual story appeared to die with no tv coverage past the weekend which is a pity given the creeping commercialization of conservation zones. An authentic local female conservationist voice a better choice?

6. Kozciusko to cop bigger Perisher Blue as Planning Inquiry recommends against?

While OF&W was driving around yesterday in the Woodchip Car(r) and still getting amused looks from motorists in peak hour at the quotes referring to Bob Carr’s broken election promise to end native forest woodchipping by 2000, we met a green researcher in expansion of Perisher Blue. It seems notwithstanding Ros and Kerry’s annoyance at the Figs in the Domain being attacked, our source tells us the Packer machine is well and truly rolling over the state environment ministry and an adverse Commission of Inquiry report on proposed expansion of this tourist resort in another prime wilderness national park. She said “You are right about Knowles and the Govt. They just don’t give a stuff.”

She promised to send on chapter and verse after moving house.

7. Landclearing and cover ups in NSW back to the bad old National Party days says govt insider

OzF&W view is that the Domain Figs affair is symptomatic of a 9 year old administration with an overloaded part time environment minister Debus with hopeless conflicts with his gig as Attorney General (now increasingly being substituted on environment by Carmel Tebbut current Corrective Services minister if memory serves). A govt insider recently sent this tragic reflection to OzF&W:

“I have been told most NSW cases against Greentree are to be dropped except maybe one section 46 remediation order (under old NVC Act) over one area but these facts need checking – so before you or anyone else acts ring Tim Holden (Ex-EDO) now in legal branch DIPNR and get the facts. If indeed the cases are to be dropped (after hundreds of thousdands of dollars of departmental effort) you need to establish – why? Were there technical reasons – ie did DIPNR think it was going to lose etc.

Also, phone ….. for more details – he is probably in a good position to offer advice.

Most DIPNR people think that the situation stink but it is one of many things that stink right now.

….

I also attach a paper on the Wentworth Group by Marcus Lane Sth Australia – note his conclusions about the need for the State to maintain a role not just delegate its responsibilities to “community groups” such as the CMAs. In my view if science and the State are not involved the CMA experiment will fail. Note also there is NO Natural Resource Commission established yet, to set state targets and standards – so we are getting cart before horse in letting CMAs run off with money to spend without state guidelines on priorities. Note also that there are no audit procedures for Property Vegetation Plans and compliance is downgraded – so who will even check to see if public money has been correctly spent – let alone check illegal clearing.

THE NRC must have genuine experts in it not just toady bureaucrats but that is not what the irrigation industry wants and they seem to be running the Govt’s rural policies right now!!

NB The Lands Dept CEO Warrick Watkins is again allowing the conversion of lots of Crown leases as he did in the early 1990s when he was head of the then CALM (including Lands). Lands officers have been verbally instructed to blame NPWS for any objection to conversion when writing to applicant lessees. This is the same stuff that was happening under the National’s Ian Causely and Wal Murray in 1993. Once a lease is converted to freehold its value soars as it can be sub-divided etc. This issue undermines NPWS in that land becomes much more expensive to purchase for reserves if freeholded. The ALP is doing exactly what the nats did in 94!!”

[To subscribe/unsubscribe to independent Oz Forest & Woodland send to ecologya [at] wix.com.au]

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

Oz Forest & Woodland # 3, 7th May 2004

Dear recipient,

Apologies for any cross posting. Details for addition or deletion from this independent free information service to the green movement in the lead up to the federal election and beyond can be found at the bottom of the page. Submissions and feedback welcome. Brevity preferred. Good luck with your ecology action.

From the editor, OF&W

10 items

1. Crikey calls Garrett ‘the next Cheryl Kernot’.
2. Local Sydney reporting of Heritage Figs slights Carr govt in the street?
3. John Kerin conflict over greenie/woodchipper sinecures?
4. Newcastle’s worthy green corridor initiative at NSW Parliament 2nd June
5. Caswell new CEO of Vic woodchippers “brazen sellout”?
6. Environmental law workshops in May in regional NSW.
7. New NPWS plans on some nature reserves, ringed brown snake, feral pigs.
8. Belated media storm stops Stealth film-set attack on Blue Mountains, or does it?
9. Strange case of city greenies MOU with cyanide miner at Lake.
10. Public rally on Lend Lease/ADI site 13th May NSW Parliament as Daily Terror meets real politik of developers.
11. West NSW conservationist frozen out of information flow by govt land clearer friends?

1. “Peter Garrett is the biggest prize in Australian politics since Cheryl Kernot.”

May 5th Crikey, which goes to about 6,000 political and business types most days, made some both flattering and acid comments about the aspirations of Peter Garrett current President of the Australian Conservation Foundation quoting the Australian:

“…senior ALP figures earlier this year discussed a plan to run Mr Garrett, president of the Australian Conservation Foundation and former Midnight Oil frontman, in the Illawarra seat of Cunningham.….. Think about it. The President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, a leading campaigner for all things environmental, a heart that’s bled more than all the baddies who get dispatched in Kill Bill – Parts I and II – trying to knock off the only Green in the House of Representatives on behalf of the Sussex Street machine. The mind boggles. But should it? Read Hillary Bray's full analysis here: [web address]”

Nom de plume Bray’s analysis is most unflattering and she backed this up with correspondence direct to OF&W. No joy for Garrett there. Crikey continues:

“we need to remember the significance of the environment as an issue. Both the big parties know all about it. What did the Greens get in the Newspoll? Exactly. We’ve already had Iron Bark playing tiptoe through the tulips in the Tasmanian forests with Bob Brown on a quest for their preferences.Less publicised have been Bill Heffernan’s mysterious trips to the wilderness – the Wilderness Society, that is – and the way Tasmanian Liberal Leader Rene Hidding seems to have been taking on as many position on logging as a contortionist.

“We speculated last week that Hidding might be trying to position himself on forestry in advance of an announcement from John Howard, only for Hidding to back-peddle quicker that an Olympic cyclist – but have a look at what appeared in the Launceston Examiner over the weekend. It talked about “the Howard Government from coming down hard on the Tasmanian industry in a bid to win the interstate urban green vote at the federal election” and “drastic changes to industry practices”and “Canberra has little to lose and much to gain by cutting the Tasmanian Liberals adrift while trying to shore up votes in Sydney and Melbourne….
“Too damned right – …The organisation Garrett heads, the ACF, are known in some quarters as “the RSL of the conservation movement”. After calling the shots for so long, are the graying men with beards and sandals who are Australia’s environmental powerbrokers prepared to be in the same position at the next federal election as the poor sods on the deck of the Tampa in 2001?

“Unlikely. So why would any party want Peter Garrett at a time like this? He is a great frontman for a band. Yes, he has electoral appeal, media savvy and a brain – but Peter Garrett is also an angry man. An angry man who is used to calling the shots and has been walking both sides of the street. When you add it all up, Peter Garrett is the biggest prize in Australian politics since Cheryl Kernot…..
Hillary Bray can be contacted at hillarybray@crikey.com.au …”



2. Local Sydney reporting of Heritage Figs slights Carr govt in the street?

In the wake of the Heritage Figs protest and interim court order against the state govt’s Royal Botanic Gardens Trust attempted woodchipping of Heritage Figs (See OF&W #2 items 2, 3) several local suburban papers – you know, the ones with an inch of property adverts evidencing rivers of gold for the publisher - are running the story with a byline ‘City Council 1, state govt 0’: The symbolic significance of saving those Figs is not lost on the savvy inner city political community.

What will be the next power struggle between Mayor Moore’s Democracy Substance Team versus the Carr-Sussex Spin Machine? The outcome of a few of these people power wrestles will tell if Sydney has its answer to the acclaimed Mayor Soorley era at Brisbane City Council.

(For those who may not have followed Soorley’s reported career eg Ramsay in the Herald, as best memory serves he was the non preferred ALP candidate, and former priest, who won the Mayor of Brisbane against expectations and served many years in the biggest electorate in the country, with various public interest policy roll outs.)


3. John Kerin conflict over greenie/woodchipper sinecures in NSW?

The conflict of former federal ALP minister and professional ‘mild one’ John Kerin with a sinecure as current chair of NSW State Forests - the official regional woodchipper of the Carr govt - has been exposed given he is also board member of Birds Australia. BA is the public face of the Royal Australian Ornithological Union, a very esteemed organization with a long history. OF&W was once a birdo and also wonders how this conflict can be sustained. Extract of the ChipStop letter of 5th May to BA reads:


“Professor Henry Nix, President Birds Australia, Dear Professor Nix

I am writing to ask that Mr John Kerin AM be removed from the board of the Royal Australian Ornithologists Union (Birds Australia). Mr Kerin is the Chairman of State Forests of New South Wales, which is the body responsible for logging in this state. State Forests is responsible for the slaughter of millions of birds and animals each year as a consequence of mass scale logging of native forests for woodchips. …. Often they die slow and painful ….I believe that Mr Kerin has a serious conflict of interest These concerns are … are also about ethics. …. This is not a personal criticism of Mr Kerin, but having the chairman of State Forests on the board must compromise the integrity and effectiveness of the organisation.

Yours sincerely, Harriett Swift, Convenor”

OF&W recalls the good Professor Nix of BA/RAOU has some history in the scientific oversight of the woodchipping industry in NSW in a body called the ‘Joint Scientific Committee’ into operations of the Eden woodchipper when the ALP ruled the roost in both NSW and Federally in the late 1980’s. Is this the real explanation of the Kerin conflict?

This is what Sydney group Ecology Action said about Carr-Kerin State Forests in 2003:

[at this link here] and notice especially the big logging list of 100 forests damaged in recent years.

This is what The Wilderness Society said about the Carr-Kerin’s State Forests ongoing woodchipping in 2003:

http://www.sydney.indymedia.org.au/front.php3?article_id=40565

Kerin should be grateful that unlike Indonesia we don’t execute illegal logging as recently announced there – refer SMH 17 April 2004 P.17 in ‘Logging clampdown’ and see item 11 below.

Tony Tiger writes from the south coast that NSW is woodchipping water catchments enhancing the drought in NSW: “Hi …"tony in the wilderness"… In fact …., they are logging Sydney water supply on the Shoalhaven side of the Great Divide up Tallaganda way. Compartments 2418, 2448 & 2449 are all active at the moment and if they are not Shoalhaven headwaters then they are Murray. And what about our South Coast catchments. What about the Tuross!”. Water Minister Frank Sartor are you listening?

Similarly State Forests Managing Director has written to OF&W dated 3rd May regarding logging impacts on Wandera state forest on the south coast in summary that it’s business as usual and don’t you worry about that.


4. Newcastle’s worthy green corridor presentation at NSW Parliament 2nd June

A grassroots green party correspondent in the Hunter writes:

“A coalition of 38 community/environment groups have come together with the goal of protecting the last remnant green space in the lower Hunter. The proposal aims to link the existing isolated reserves at the
Watagans, Mount Sugarloaf, Hexham Swamp, Kooragang Island and Stockton Bight by protecting the regions in between, taking in areas such as the 'Tank Paddock' and the Tomago wetlands. In turn, this corridor links north with the bushland all the way to the marine environment of Port Stephens and to the south, around the southern end of Lake Macquarie, to the Wallarah Peninsula on the coast.

The Green Corridor Coalition will be presenting our vision at NSW Parliament House, 12.30pm Wed 2 June 2004 in the Jubilee Room. Please come along and show your support.”

5. Caswell goes to the Vic woodchippers pre federal election

Crikey (again!) on 29 April described newly appointed Victorian Association of Forest Industries CEO Tricia Caswell, formerly national director of Australian Conservation Foundation as “One of the most brazen sell-outs by a green activist” and then quotes glowing media release of Victorian Liberals thus:

“VAFI'S NEW CEO WELCOMED, Tuesday, April 27th 2004, Liberal Spokesperson for Forestry - Graeme Stoney/The appointment of Ms Tricia Caswell as CEO of Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI) has been welcomed by Liberal Spokesperson for Forestry, Graeme Stoney MP. Speaking in Parliament Mr Stoney said Ms Caswell has strong environmental credentials and is in a position to explain the strong message the Timber Industry has to sell the public.

"The public simply loves products that come from our forests but is still concerned that those forests may be threatened," he said."I believe Ms Caswell has the ability to make the connection in the public's mind between beautiful forest products and good forestry practices that are required to produce these products. It is important that the public understands that every hectare of trees that is taken for timber products is re-sown in the same year. The industry is certainly not ravaging our public land, as portrayed by some sectional interests.

"Ms Caswell has the credentials and ability to explain these messages and perhaps prevent the State Government from using the timber industry as a political football, as it has done for the past five years. I wish her well," he told Parliament.

6. Environmental law workshops in May 2004

The Environmental Defender's Office writes early May they will be conducting community environmental law workshops in the following locations: Crescent Head - Saturday, 15 May 2004
Wagga Wagga - Saturday, 22 May 2004, Blue Mountains - Saturday, 29 May 2004 (Please note change of date.)

Their blurb runs “Participants will receive practical information to help them to participate more effectively in environmental decision making in their local area and to understand how the law can be used to help protect the environment. The cost of the workshop is $50 full price or $20 concession/student (ID
required). To register or for further information please contact Christine Palomo at christine.palomo@edo.org.au or by telephone on 9262 6989. Special thanks to the Law and Justice Foundation for funding the EDO Rural and Regional Workshop Program.”

7. New NPWS plans available on some nature reserves, ringed brown snake, feral pigs.

Conservation plans, draft or otherwise, are now available for public comment on the National Parks and Wildlife website at www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au, Boorganna Nature Reserve, Byrnes Scrub Nature Reserve, Chambigne Nature Reserve, Koukandowie Nature Reserve, Ringed brown snake - proposed endangered species listing, Feral pigs - proposed key threatening process declaration.

8. Belated media storm stops Stealth film set in Blue Mountains wilderness, or did it?

OF&W #2 at item 5 commented that the media profile of the environment movement case on impacts of film sets on the Blue Mountains was not optimal. The protest looked to be lost, but then Carr’s spin machine hit more local resilience and extra media attention. OF&W thinks the real weight in the stoush is revealed by following reference to the gutsy local conservation society and the NSW environmental defenders office newsletter who write:

“EDO bulletin 5th May… the State Government and a film company late last week withdrew their appeal against the ruling of the Land and Environment Court that prevented filming in the Grose Wilderness area of the Blue Mountains National Park. …Justice Lloyd found in the case of Blue Mountains Conservation Society Inc v Director-General National Parks and Wildlife; the Minister for the Environment and AFG Talons Pty Ltd, that the authorities and consents issued on behalf of the Director-General for National Parks and Wildlife were invalid. The [EDO] acting on behalf of [BMSC] commenced proceedings late last Tuesday afternoon …Justice Lloyd accepted the Society's arguments that the proposed commercial filming in a wilderness area was completely antipathetic to the intended use of the land. His Honour concluded his judgement with the words, "wilderness is sacrosanct".

But in true Carr govt style the EDO adds:

”Update: The New South Wales Government will introduce a Bill in Parliament today to allow filming in the State's national parks. The Bill is a response to last week's ruling in the Land and Environment Court.”

Carr later clarified on Sydney ABC 2BL radio the Bill would not target designated wilderness, only national park. Cohen MLC Greens, hit back

“the fact is that there are four million hectares of national parks outside of wilderness areas in NSW where commercial filming is already allowed under the National Parks and Wildlife Act”.

So the Carr Bill is in effect face saving and redundant. Dragon Fly 1, Carr govt 0.


9. Strange case of city greenies $6 million MOU with cyanide miner and Carr govt at Lake Cowal.

This is a strange story about the Carr govt in trouble with the miners and union over banning Lake Cowal cyanide mine in 1996 after uproar following a Sixty Minutes expose late 1995. Lake Cowal is in the central west of NSW. Carr then caved into pressure by 1998 and approved the mine with changes, with political insurance via green cover via $6 million MOU with 3 flexible peak city green groups. But the dirty deal was delayed by the crash of the gold price such that no work commenced until 2004. Over the same time Timbarra’s disastrous cyanide mine was opened and closed after significant public protest.

A fuller chronology and detail can be found here: http://www.sydney.indymedia.org.au/front.php3?article_id=39567


Another serious fly in the ointment has arisen with traditional owner Neville Chappy Williams, of the Wiradjuri People opposing the Lake Cowal cyanide juggernaut with activist allies esconced since 2003. See for instance:

http://www.sydney.indymedia.org.au/front.php3?article_id=41161

 and

http://www.sydney.indymedia.org.au/front.php3?article_id=41040

 and


www.rainforestinfo.org.au/gold/lakec.html



Senate Greens candidate Dr Kaye said:

“To hear that police have moved in on this camp while the traditional owners are still pursuing a native claim is an outrage," said Dr Kaye….. "It is also an ecological hot spot, with up to 277 protected species of
birds recorded or considered as possible occurrences in the Lake Cowal region. Many of these migratory birds are protected under agreements between Australia and Japan and China.”

Given the clear opposition of the Green Party and some other regional green groups and the traditional owner when will the 3 lead city green groups release for public scrutiny this $6 million financial MOU from the revenue of cyanide mining?


10. Public rally on Lend Lease/ADI site 13th May NSW Parliament as Daily Terror meets real politik of developers.

The Daily Terror on Wed 5th May ran a story about a local rally at St Mary’s but that lead politicians at state and federal level were ignoring the event. Too many friends in Lend Lease and development industry? One wonders. This week the Terror also reported the CFMEU and the NSW Greens were well and truly onside to conserve the Lend Lease/ADI site of 1,545 ha of bushland and waterways to add to nominal support of premier Bob Carr and Jackie Kelly MHR.

Now Geoff Brown,Convenor, ADI Residents Action Group writes: “Dear supporter, We have until June 2004 to save the entire ADI site and to keep it in public ownership. Lend Lease will own the site from June.

We therefore must direct all our energies into stopping this in the next few weeks and we have several things planned. Thursday May 13, from 12 noon - Rally at NSW Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney. Lunchtime from 12 noon.

Petition to Bob Carr. You can return them to: ADI RAG, PO Box 4123, Werington NSW 2749 or send them to Bob Carr directly. [Contact Geoff Brown on tel. 0431 222602]

Senator Brown, Greens said 3rd May

"Lend Lease donated $281, 536 to the NSW ALP between 1998 and 2003. Bob Carr should make it clear to the public that he is putting the interests of the people of NSW above the interests of donors to the ALP.”

11. West NSW conservationist frozen out of information flow by govt blessed land clearers?

Following OF&W #2 item 7, publishing a damning leak from a govt insider of disastrous managment of illegal clearing prosecutions by the NSW govt of up to 20,000 hectares - involving a known big wig and donor to the ALP, Mr Ron Greentree – we received a call from out West. It seems an expert conservationist who is not our source and is not a govt employee has been blacklisted from any information from government officers and refused access to public registers of clearing information. We also received this collation of details below of illegal and legal clearing which damns the Carr govt on wildlife and greenhouse performance to name just two concerns:

The details are published here in full:

“Below is clearing approved in 2003 is summarised as total area approved for all DIPNR regions except for nth and sth coast. Data obtained from regional offices in December/January and are the same figures that had been submitted to head office. 2004 data are until 1st March. Illegal clearing estimates are based on observations over the last five months. Indications of numbers of outstanding applications are based on verbals only. Current dept procedure is to process as much of the administrative backlog asap.

1. Central West: (2003) 12 400.9 ha approved
(2004) 1 967 ha
High levels of illegal clearing in 2003, 10 000s of hectares
Numbers of incoming applications are not high, approval rate same as last year.
Mostly for bushland and isolated paddock trees for cropping, mostly wheat and cotton

2. Far West: (2003) 12 139.7 ha approved
(2004) 7 999 ha
Less illegal activity, high level of property conservation agreements
Rate of clearing approval climbing in 2004, high backlog of applications
Cultivation approvals (Western Lands Act) mostly on grasslands and regrowth
NVC Act clearing was for bushland and isolated paddock trees for cropping and pasture improvement

3. Barwon: (2003) 76 ha approved
(2004) 0 ha
High levels of illegal clearing in 2003, 10 000s of ha.
With few asessments and no prosecutions, there is a large backlog of clearing reports and applications. 2004 applications are "just a trickle".
Most clearing is done for wheat and cotton developments.

4. Murrumbridgee/Murray (2003) 5 211 ha approved
(2004) 8 000 ha
Some extensive illegal clearing
Rates of approval have sky-rocketed this year, 8000 ha is just a rounded figure, no details provided
Clearing mostly of grasslands, bushland and isolated paddock trees for cropping and irrigation development.

5. Hunter (2003) 14 363.5 ha approved
(2004 to 31st March) 5 500.4 ha
Some small illegal clearing
Rates of approval this year are high
90% of area approved is for private native forestry”

[To subscribe/unsubscribe to independent Oz Forest & Woodland send to ecology [at] telpacific.com.au]

Oz Forest & Woodland # 4

24th May 2004

Dear recipient,

Apologies for any cross posting. Details for addition or deletion from this independent free information service to the green movement and elsewhere in the lead up to the federal election and beyond can be found at the bottom of the page. Submissions and feedback welcome. Brevity preferred. Good luck with your ecology action.

From the editor, OF&W

1. Howard’s 8 years and 45 MILLION tonnes of woodchips … so far
2. Lake Cowal I: Wiradjuri Woman Coe fights mine echoing Olympic activism
3. Lake Cowal II: What price green/indigenous opposition to a development project?
4. Lake Cowal III. Aboriginal ‘United Nations’ issues resolution against cyanide mine
5. What value Clover Moore new Mayor of Sydney?
6. Melbourne doing better than Sydney on water? Prelude to Forests For Water Walk.
7. Wentworth federal seat - still a green fight?
8. Evidence of further logging reforms: I. NSW
9. Privatization of the plantation economic gorilla in NSW.
10. Howard’s resilient example applies to forest activism?
11. Evidence of further logging reforms: II. Nationally



1. Howard’s 8 years and 45 MILLION tonnes of woodchips … so far
The more important anniversary for the nation re PM Howard is not his 30 years on the taxpayers teat -celebrated recently in the same venue as the annual Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Sleaze Ball in Sydney. At 6 million tonnes of native forest chips per year or conservatively 45 million tonnes since 1996 - refer ABARE or BRS bean counters – shipped off to Japan mostly from ancient sources Howard must be the patron saint of Gunns, Boral and other forest killers. This despite being too busy to attend a Timber Communities Australia soiree in Albury recently. And remember the logging destroys the animals not just the trees.

Sure this compares with other national depradations like unethical firewood collection in the millions of tonnes controlled by various state governments, and even more scary - landclearing in the millions of HECTARES over the same period.

The point is players like the Green Party can easily justify amplified noise on ecology. Nevertheless the weight of words in their stream of media releases on diverse social matters can be summarized as ‘we are not just the environment!’. Lets hope they hang on to the “just” bit. Remember those heady days when the nascent Greens 15 years ago were worried about manipulation by organized socialists while NSW senate candidate Dr Kaye recently stated at a NSW Parliament event the Green Party is “from the green movement, resident there”.

2. Lake Cowal I: Wiradjuri Woman Coe fights mine echoing Sydney Olympics activism

Lake Cowal national day against a cyanide mine for this northwest NSW heritage area went off surprisingly well in Sydney 20th May. First there were 5 idealists and a banner in Victoria Park near Sydney Uni. Then fifteen, then fifty. A sacred fire and smoking ceremony followed over 3 hours. ‘Aunty’ Isabelle Coe with a thirty-year history with the Aboriginal Tent Embassy against “genocidal war” and “no treaty” convened the action in solidarity with traditional owner of Lake Cowal Neville Williams also no slouch in the campaigning stakes.

Coe looked well after an illness, her words moving the crowd. A friendly policeman dropped in but new Mayor Clover Moore’s oversight of the park is likely to be sympathetic contrary to her predecessor. Coe was back in to the fray, busy fielding journos, telephones, photo ops, taping an interview for Koori media. She mentioned the intense activity at the same location 4 years previous during the Olympic Games evoking worldwide media interest that she redirected to Redfern’s Eveleigh St.

A widely circulated backgrounder is available on the intriguing stop-start cyanide mine including 1998 funding deal between Carr govt, miner and 4 select environment groups including obscure SAFE whose organizer from memory has since moved into ALP career politics. The deal is only operational now in 2004 after improvement in the gold price but all signatories seem loathe to release the full MOU to the public. The May issue of Sydney City Hub with connections to OF&W – also carries a story about Canadian multinational Barrick Gold and attacks on the protest camp at Lake Cowal late April.


3. Lake Cowal II: What price a green/indigenous opposition to a development project?
An international reader of OF&W with extensive green credentials sends us this link of a project in Canada where the developer is seeking to bribe Indigenous interests with 1/3 ownership of a devastating dam by Manitoba Hydro. Yet the promoters must still vault a democratic vote later this year amongst the local Indians. More at:

http://www.riverwatchonline.org/news/winnipeg_press/03_16_04c.html

Which all raises the question is the price of real opposition of some local greens to resource industry projects like Lake Cowal cyanide mine too cheap? In the case of the Lake Cowal $6 million MOU some crucial clauses were quoted in a article in the Daily Telegraph way back in 1998 including:
 
“THE LAKE COWAL ENVIRONMENTAL TRUST”

“Provided that construction of the Cowal Gold Mine is commenced, North [successor Canadian miner Barrick Gold] agrees to make the following donations:

(a) $100,000 per year during the construction period and the production life of the mine;

(b) up to $100,000 per year during the production life of the mine to match dollar for dollar monies that are donated to the Trust from other sources.”
 
What intrigues OF&W is whether there is a standard green clause of 10% admin fee to select green bodies making a neat $600,000 over the life of the mine?


4. Lake Cowal III. Aboriginal ‘United Nations’ issues resolution against cyanide mine

Hot on the heels of the Sydney gathering and elsewhere in the country OF&W received the following statement from traditional owner Neville Williams dated Friday 21st May. For the record here is the authentic voice of a 60,000 year plus culture telling it like it is:
 
“We, the Elders and Traditional Owners representing the sovereign Aboriginal nations within the Murray Darling Basin are in total opposition to the proposed Canadian Barrick goldmine within Lake Cowal, the sacred heartland of Wiradjuri.

We demand that the Federal and New South Wales State Governments intervene to halt the cyanide leach goldmine proposed for Lake Cowal, before there is any more desecration of Wiradjuri’s sacred heartland and a potential environmental disaster.

We oppose the danger of transporting 6000 tonnes a year of lethal cyanide from Gladstone, Queensland, across our river catchments into the Lake Cowal and Kalara (Lachlan) River floodplain to leach the gold. The cyanide tailings dams are two square kilometres in area and an environmental disaster from a potential cyanide leak threatens rivers and ground waters in the Murray Darling Basin from Condobolin to Adelaide.

We oppose the planned gold mine which would expose 204 million tonnes of waste rock to air releasing arsenic, a heavy metal poison, which accumulates in living tissue and is concentrated by the food chain. The arsenic would be washed into the lake and rivers after rain.

We condemn the allocation to the mining company of 16 Megalitres (16 million litres) a day of precious and sacred water from the underground river east of Lake Cowal and part of the Kalara (Lachlan) river system.

We support the Mooka and Kalara united families within the Wiradjuri nation in their lead in the opposition to the goldmine and to any ‘Consent to Destroy’ of living sites and cultural heritage. We call on all people to support us in our fight to protect Lake Cowal in the heart of the living Murray Darling Basin.

Resolved on 21 May 2004 in old Parliament House, Canberra

Contact Neville Williams 0416 316 774 or 0421 795 639”
 
5. What value Clover Moore new Mayor of Sydney?

The Isabelle Coe inspired protest camp last Thursday went smoothly one suspects because there was no complaint from Sydney City Council to the police over lighting of the sacred fire in a public park yet this writer remembers a tense stand off with police in 2000 under disrespectful predecessor Mayor ‘Cranky’ Franky’ Sartor now an ALP minister under Bob Carr.

Town Hall are also helping promote The Wilderness Society’s World Environment Day Saturday June 5th 3.30 pm featuring famous Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan, Adam Spencer of JJJ notoriety, the wonderful Vince Jones, and idealistic Jimmy Barnes on the come back and no doubt sundry other spruikers including princess Mary nee Donaldson – only kidding. The point is Town Hall are happy to host and promote the public interest event to oppose woodchipping of Tasmania in this sensitive election year. Too bad Walt Disney distributors are not so democratic with a certain recent Michael Moore film.

Perhaps namesake Clover M should offer to show Michael M’s film – after all they are both old Irish stock and community operators.

Now that Mayor Moore has postponed chainsawing and hopefully saved 5 classic Domain Figs she has been busy on Stateline with a convincing and competent Q & A via bright man Quentin ‘Rupert’ Dempster as Premier Carr once called him on one of his off days.

Clover also features in a technical knockout in PR terms in the latest Wentworth Courier 20th May lead story p3 outing 4 state appointees after they monstered a DA assessment from 11 to 31 storeys destroying the views of existing property owners . Boo hoo I hear the country greens wise-cracking but in the Big Smog the story reinforces the electors choice to Clover in spades. It’s the city equivalent of turning the neighbours water tank taps on and opening their gates ie declaration of war.

6. Melbourne doing better than Sydney on water? Prelude to Forests For Water Walk.

In an echo of the ‘Water is more precious than Gold’ catchcry of the Lake Cowal defenders, the Green Party equivalent of Clover Moore down south, Cr David Risstrom, issued a statement 23rd May that Melbourne is doing well on water conservation:
“The City Of Melbournešs ambitious water saving plan OWatermark, which has already produced a 17% reduction in water use in Melbourne, has won the 2004 SaveWater Local Government Award. The City of Melbourne developed Watermark in collaboration with the International Council for Local Environment Initiatives (ICLEI) and Melbourne Water.”
 
Which raises the question whether Melbourne is doing better than Sydney in the water stakes? OF&W understands this issue of Sydney supply, of intense interest with increased restrictions from June 1st, overflows (bad pun) to the regions with govt seeking some 1/5 increased capacity from the Shoalhaven catchment in say 5 years with logging of those water catchments still continuing apace. Hence regional and city green groups are holding a Forests For Water event soon to raise awareness of the relationship of upright trees to good water supply by walking from the Eden based woodchipper to Sydney. A case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing in NSW? Or perhaps of what else is new?


7. Wentworth federal seat - still a green fight?

De-selected Rhodes scholar Peter King, replaced by Rhodes scholar Mal Turnbull are still going hammer and tongs with profile stoushes as each set up shop on the same corner last weekend making the tv news later that day. Not strictly a forest or even environment story only that in election season its amazing that in this traditional blue ribbon Lib seat (but not safe for the specific MP it seems in a seat previously held by John Hewson), the local paper 19th May is running ‘greenie’ Ian Kiernan with Turnbull, local worthies with King celebrating a bushland grant, cross city road tunnel filtering and butts on beaches, Centennial Park cycling issue etc. Conspicuous by their absence are the ALP, Greens, and dark horse Peter Garrett (refer OF&W issue #3 item 1) in this real estate dominated local rag. Are we and the rag missing something going on in the back room here?

This writer admits only a slight bout of that evil election fever, reminiscing over a 10% haul as a Wentworth candidate in another life ten years previous.
 
8. Evidence of further logging reforms in the wind: I. NSW

First there is the planned privatization of the $1 billion NSW public plantation sector outlined in a briefing recently in the cutely named Waratah room by unionists, resource economist Judy Clark, Green Party aspirants (and this writer observing) based on an ABN AMRO expert valuation late 2003. We learned this plan is being spruiked widely and at high level within the ALP machine to the real consternation of the logging union and some G/greens but probably not this writer.

(A backgrounder on the ideological/real concerns of this sell off for forest is available from OF&W. At stake for instance is a tragic cross subsidy within State Forest (SF) financial accounts transferring from the profitable plantation sector to the ‘native forest woodchip and conversion’ sector which runs at a loss. Without the cross subsidy SF could fall over with all that means as a regional political manipulator.)

Then we have the timetable for increased conservation zones being championed by The Wilderness Society and due anytime. These were wrung out of the NSW govt after the TWS high profile forest and land clearing bus shelter poster campaign put some added heat on the Carr govt prior to the 2003 state election. The timetable for western conservation forest decisions is also running a close parallel.

Then we have Treasurer Egan's decision to amend his land tax legislation so that rural land under Voluntary Conservation Agreements and nature conservation trusts will be exempted from land tax and vendor duty.

Then we have a 5 year review of the infamous ‘regional forest (non) agreements in NSW as per this interesting note from a reader:
“NCC Vacancy: A suitably experienced/qualified person is required to assist in consultations on regulation of forestry operations. The Nature Conservation Council of NSW Inc.(NCC) is contributing to
the NSW Government's five year review of key forestry processes. … Inquiries to Peter Prineas pprineas@ozemail.com.au / Susie Russell
The significance of this advert apart from funding admin sinecure to the establishment green umbrella group in NSW via Carr is that the review is partly overseen by Peter Prineas formerly employed by independent champion Ted Mack – who also endorsed Clover Moore. Prineas is an author and successful litigant against then NSW Forestry Commission. A tough operator according to this form. The other overseer is Russel out of the Green Party presumably to protect positions and deals made over the last 10 years especially in the north east of NSW to allow limited native forest logging in return for ‘old growth’ reserves. Project lasts 6 weeks apparently with applications closing June 4th.

But my favourite gossip comes from down south where a reader says:
 
“I expect some will have heard of the closure of the Cann River Sawmill [East Gippsland Victoria also feeding to Eden woodchip mill in NSW] and the laying/buying off of allegedly 10 logging crews because of no sawlogs. On the same day I heard Bob Carr speak of the 'global warming' threat and seemingly cast nasturtiums [praise?] on the carbon credit lobby. This made me recall a recent meeting with Dr. Jim Shields (SF's premier ecologist) when he went on about 'bio-diversity credits'. At the time it seemed strange that Jim would be touting something SF, as far as I'm aware, has little interest in. This disparity was partially clarified a couple of months later when i heard Jim was applying for redundancy.”
9. Privatization of the plantation economic gorilla in NSW.

OF&W criticize the Carr govt for failing to address the plantation sector in its forest conservation reforms in 1995-2000 period. Now with the $1 billion public asset on the chopping block in a cash needy state resource economist Judy Clark, an acknowledged expert on resource matters has written to say her paper can be found at:

http://cres.anu.edu.au/people/clark.php

and she adds
“Whilst I concentrated on the eco issues, I think there are important environmental issues for plantation ownership. In particular, the planting was pretty full-on over the 1960s to 1980s and some areas planted would not be planted today. After they are logged, it may be the land should be rezoned or subjected to specific management requirements. I'm talking in particular about steep slopes and water buffer zones and corridor linkages. These issues are just as important in the north as they are in the south, possibly more important. The process for making these adjustments (and keeping log volumes up - ie through productivity improvements on the next rotation and maybe replanting on more suitable land) will be MUCH easier if the plantations are in public hands.

”I was surprised about the comments on the native forest subsidy identification with privatization. If government wanted to know the extent of the subsidy, they could force this work. The issue is how would the NSW govt react with this information. I think some people are too quick in making conclusions - wishes - here. If they argue that the NSW govt would react in an economically rational way (ie lift native forest log prices and maybe close some regions), they need to explain why the NSW government is different to every other state government in Australia - even the WA government that is at the cutting edge of forest policy in Australia.”
In response to Clark, OF&W has made some tactical observations evidencing public ownership does not guarantee good environmental management e.g. State Forests itself and the infamous Transgrid clearing episode in NSW not to mention financial conflict of interest of legislative and executive arms of govt. Her point on lazy accounting is valid calling up the dusty 1990 Public Accounts Committee bi partisan report into then Forestry Commission which report went the way of the dodo. As for differences in NSW: Carr and his familiar refrain on greenhouse and 350 new national parks? But OF&W agrees to this extent that it’s a very arguable situation. Certainly Carr could retrieve an awful lot of bad vibes environmentally and generally by closing down the cronies in State Forests for good and cleaning up the plantation sector as the bright future for loggers in a sustainable landscape.

10. Howard’s resilient example applies to forest activism?

According to the gossip, chief biological apologist for State Forest egregious destruction, Dr Jim Shields, is going for redundancy which brings to mind the list of eminent players in forest policy in NSW who have moved on:
- Senator Penny Wong recently on Insiders now Adelaide based previously adviser to Forest Minister Kim Yeadon;
- Yeadon himself and Pam Allan then environment minister both demoted from Cabinet;
- industry folks like Robert Bain and squeeze Robin …….? who left her logger hubby for Bain’s charms;
- unionists Gavin Hillier, and then Mark Greenhill now on the local govt gravy train in WESROC
- greenies Dailan Pugh, John Corkhill environment medal winners praised by Bob Carr of all people, and Noel Plumb who this writer was pleased to be arrested with down south and rumour has it is moving into horticulture.

Any other names from readers from this admittedly NSW focused list.


11. Evidence of further logging reforms: II. Nationally

In a close election year one might expect a few feathers to fly in the chook house that constitutes logging industry politics and sure enough 2004 is proving so with some real shifts in industry power and dynamic. As you can see this is holding up OF&W #4 with all the fascinating developments and it seems trashing the goal of brevity let alone timeliness. But here goes anyway ….

On the weekend we saw Vicforests advertising in The Australian for a new Director of Strategy and Planning under the Bracks govt with an emphasis on native forest.

Then there is the newly formed “A3P” quoted by the Fin Review as the new national plantation lobby group. That story 6th May suggests A3P is another spruiker for mindless roll out of increased new plantings and certainly that was the impression their CEO Belinda Robinson gave when interviewed earlier this month on radio national’s Bush Telegraph by avoiding hard questions of sustainability. Not promising.

More significantly Crikey e newsletter notes 19th May:
 
Mitsubishi calls for an end to old growth logging
Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation, which imports 400,000 tonnes of Tassie woodchips annually, has announced it doesn't condone logging from old-growth or high conservation value forests in Tasmania.
In a letter released yesterday Mitsubishi, which has traded with Gunns Ltd for 30 years, condemned unsustainable old-growth logging in Tassie and promised to "make a transition to woodchips sourced from plantations and second-growth forests as soon as possible".

While Mitsubishi buys just 10 per cent of Tasmanian woodchips exported to Japan, Tassie's largest woodchip customer, Nippon Paper Industries, has also requested an end to Tasmania's old-growth logging. Following the news this morning Gunns's share price sunk to a low of $12.01, down 44c, but rebounded to $12.37 after lunch. The Mercury - Japan's chip at Tassie logging
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi must be very happy with its expansion deeper into the Australian coal industry three years ago given the way prices have soared since it teamed up with BHP-Billiton to take out QCT Resources.”
 
Tas politicians are also feeling the heat it seems with Minister Bryan Green (ironic name) criticizing Greens Bob Brown for talking down their state in what is wrongly claimed to be a secretive letter to UK MP’s but was in fact released to Tas media weeks before. The Tas establishment script may be from Gunns Ltd themselves as their executive chairman John Gay sledged anyone remotely green in a prepared statement 19th May with headmasterly tone that:

“Individuals like Greenpeace campaigner Danny Kennedy, Senator Brown, Greens Leader Peg Putt and others need to take a good hard look at themselves and realise their mistruths are hurting our state”.

But Mr Gay might not be referring to this embarrassing information extracted by senator Brown from federal forest minister Macdonald revealed the same day: “The revelation that the Commonwealth has spent over a quarter of a million dollars working out how to log Deep Red Myrtle in Tasmania's Tarkine reveals a political process whereby taxpayers, most of whom want the Tarkine saved, are paying for logging assessments”

See: http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/divisions/policy/rfa/index.html#review


No wonder the Greens scorn such industry admonitions to consider local profile. The question is which rent seeker deserves tax dollars? Also dedicated Aussie investors in woodchipping might consider the economic weight in the other direction as pointed out by ChipStop recently quoting ANU Forestry Market Report No.27

"Australia's Competitors in the Japanese Woodchip Market …..According to medium term projections by ABARE, the global import demand for woodchips will increase. But the export supply of woodchips will increase even more. Hence, ABARE says the real prices of woodchips will continue to fall."

ChipStop states “The report also shows very clearly that while Australian woodchips were until very recently the cheapest in the Pacific rim, they are now the most expensive (equal with Chile). There have been price renegotiations since this data was compiled, but I don't think they would have affected the price relativities. This must be due entirely to the rise in the $A. Worth a look at http://sres.anu.edu.au/associated/marketreport/
regards”

The scene is set for The Greens to collaborate with the ALP for further environmental reforms in the logging sector and increased votes. Leader Latham said recently:

"Labor believes in investing in the environment, passing on our natural assets and heritage to the next generation and taking climate change seriously: ratifying the Kyoto protocol and establishing an emissions
trading system, and establishing new national policies to save the Murray-Darling and to protect our native forests, our beaches and our coastline" - Mark Latham, 13 May 2004

Commentators are similarly speculating that PM Howard will make more statements on the environment.
[To subscribe/unsubscribe to independent Oz Forest & Woodland send to ecologya [at] wix.com.au]
 
............................................................
 
 
Oz Forest & Woodland # 5

Monday 7th June 2004

Dear recipient,

Apologies for any cross posting. Details for addition or deletion from this independent free information service to the green movement and elsewhere in the lead up to the federal election and beyond can be found at the bottom of the page. Submissions and feedback welcome. Brevity preferred. Good luck with your ecology action.

This issue dedicated to a popular Sydney web activist and Cave Clan-er dead at 28 5th June (world env. day) from a tumour diagnosed mere weeks ago. Om Gaia.

From the editor, OF&W

12 items.

1. ALP’s-Garrett’s Heffron gambit
2. Wentworth musings and correction
3. Tower of Zable travels to the USA for the real election?
4. Forces of Darkness I: Redneck Cochrane saddles up again for pre election NSW tour June/July
5. Cochrane’s other trip to the ACT BUGs
6. Knowles knifes the public forests again pre-empting the government’s forest ‘agreement’ reviews
7. Forces of Darkness II: govt’s ‘Bush Telegraph’ propaganda
8. Forces of Darkness III: NowDaishowa corporate parent gets bout of the rebrands.
9. China resource boom to gulp the rest of our public forest?
10. Tassie forest Sydney Town Hall bash sublimates into Garrett media news break?
11. Dempster’s Stateline digs deeper as Carr green figleaf(s) cover putrefaction?
12 . Domain Figs latest via Clover Moore E-news

1. ALP’s-Garrett’s Heffron gambit
This proposition will run and run so here is one reference front page treatment Sun Herald.

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/06/05/1086377188017.html?from=storylhs

In item 7 OF&W 24th May entitled “Wentworth federal seat – still a green fight?” the quiz posed “Are we … missing something going on in the back room here?”. Now turn to adjacent seat of Heffron.

So it takes another deeply cynical and frank George Bush intervention - the sledge last week of Latham - to flush out an ALP political asset in reply namely Peter Garrett a celebrity idealist …and US foreign policy critic back to the Nuclear Disarmament Party days.

One can assume the man controlling the timing for this Garrett run, sitting member Laurie Brereton oft described as “danger man”, has several agendas running. 1. help the ALP win the federal election, 2.stuff Bob Carr’s skip from state seat of Maroubra to federal politics 3. solidarity with deeply entrenched local campaign to block expansion of Port Botany (a Carr sponsored project, advised against by parliamentary committee 8 days ago, congestion impacts on 2 million Sydneysiders). 4. Need for a Bay champion, 5. Not least – a la East Timor Brereton’s personal redemption at the twilight after proven environmental impacts of ‘his’ 3rd runway at Kingsford Smith.

ALP seniors Latham, Swan, Thompson are cheering and Albanese diplomatically neutral but with the latter’s huge investment in a 2nd airport recently promoted for Sutton Forest (presumably easing inner west noise impacts) – not too far from a certain country abode of …. Peter Garrett at Mittagong …one starts to perceive synergistic benefits for the ALP without the risk of Kernot’s menopausal behaviour? Our view is Garrett will take then ambush the gig possibly in a sorry suit as per the Olympic closing ceremony. As Shakespeare - or whoever wrote his stuff - said: “There is a tide in the affairs of men …”

Johno Johnson ALP aged irrelevancy has gone on radio today to sledge the idea and announce Randwick Club forum 7.30pm Tuesday 8th June. Greens Bob Brown has cautioned against the evil baggage of the ALP. On the other hand Latham’s recent in absentia environment speech copies available may mitigate if not convince (refer Sydney Town Hall bash below).

Lastly, ACF confirms again they are a loose and softer faction of the ALP balancing conservative Coalition favoured greenies.

2. Wentworth musings and correction
1. A Greens psephologist based in Sydney’s eastern seat of Wentworth wrote within minutes of the send last week to correct the editor’s claim of a 10% haul of votes 10 years back in item 7 # 4, OF&W. Referring to the Electoral Commission’s web page alas he was right to the extent the nostalgic haul was the State seat of Vaucluse within and half the geographical area of Wentworth. A later effort pre dissident phase in Wentworth trawled 5or 6%. At least I was enrolled unlike irrepressible Stephen Mayne of Crikey who famously came a cropper, gave birth to Jeffed.com and never looked back.

The pain of being corrected was easily compensated for by said Greenie declining unofficial Party ban on gossip to OF&W. Holy leafy green veg isn’t openness close to Gandhi-ness? ? Psephologist excoriated the Wentworth Courier for not contacting local Greens to clarify Peter Garrett was definitely not involved in any behind the scenes coup with the ALP’s David Patch. More’s the pity. Refer above and item 1, OF&W #3.

The local press are still speculating on a spill in blue ribbon Wentworth but only if de-selected incumbent Peter King preferences away from the Libs to a substantial and overtaking independent – possible but unlikely. King may simply be positioning for a better (read perkier) offer before shuffling off the government backbench. Yet King seems to enjoy his de-selection freedom with a foray Friday 4th June on ABC’s AM slamming that Howard sacred cow – the Defence Force chiefs.

3. Tower of Zable travels to the USA for the real election?

Ecology Action which publishes this e-zine kicked in $140 in coin donations to help transport Benny’s Zable and his unique art - which looks a bit like a mini Statue of Liberty after Krakatoa complete with ominous messages of doom, rainbow flags etc – over to Uncle Sam this month. Benny is an old hand of the Franklin River, Terrania Creek and other protests as well a self confessed black sheep amongst ngo straights. If you ask him he will spend an hour telling you a Democrat congressman Dennis Kucinich (a google if I ever saw), environment and peace candidate, will beat John Kerry for the nomination despite a patchy media black list. How so?

“Kucinich with several elected terms behind him is the only candidate left besides Kerry and co-convenor of ‘the Progressives’ – the biggest caucus in the Democrats”.

Sure enough Kucinich appeared juxtaposed with John Kerry 7.30 Report June 3rd which may a first for Oz TV. Benny has also distributed locally some hilarious adverts with high production values by moveon.org targeting Bush. These are the ones banned by the Super Bowl a few months ago as too political that we passed on to Actively Radical TV in Sydney.

Support and donations to Benny Zable progressive ambassador to the USA would be welcome.

4. Forces of Darkness I: Redneck Cochrane saddles up again for pre election NSW tour June/July
Just in the snail mail is a notice from south east based ex MP Peter Cochrane a proven stirrer who never let education or facts get in the way of a good bit of contemptuous bile. Now heading up ‘Timber Communities Australia’ NSW chapter - which used to be know as the Forest Protection Society (FPS) until Fair Trading forced truth in advertising – Cochrane is doing the north east tour over 6 dates June 16-21 from Lower Hunter to Tenterfield, State Managers Conference in Tasmania on 22nd June and more dates July 1-8 from Grafton to Tumut.

He says “We have credibility and have been recognized by “the Greens” Senator Bob Brown in the Federal Parliament as a force to be “reckoned with”. That pleases us!”

5. Cochrane’s other trip to the ACT BUGs
The above itinerary of our favourite cowboy Peter Cochrane corroborates his outreach strategy in an email report from Tessa EffervesCent: She has been monitoring recent ACT Bush Users Group where Cochrane advises ‘Only talk about things you agree on. I don’t like motorbikes in the bush but it doesn’t matter, we only talk about things in common’: Like how to get an esky to every corner of the planet perhaps? It’s a cheap shot to be sure yet common gossip around Cooma says Cowboy’s missus went MIA the last time he made a big political effort. Is it a case now of anywhere but home?

On a similar theme Gra Gra a dedicated greenie writes:
“Hi all

Some of you may remember going along to community consultation sessions held last year by the National Parks Service concerning future management of five national parks in the region: Monga, Deua, Wadbilliga, Gourock and Badja Swamps Nature Reserve.

The latest development in this drawn out process is the release of a discussion paper on the issue of "Access", with NPWS seeking public comments and suggestions by next Monday. Sorry about the late notice.

You can view or download this paper and make your comments online by going to www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/escarpmentparks .

As many of you would know, the Parks Service has been under pressure from off road vehicle and horse-riding interests to open up wilderness areas and although they are standing firm on that it is clear from reading the paper that NPWS is quite prepared to entrench high impact recreational activities in these national parks outside of the declared wilderness areas.

If like me you would prefer to see more of these parks put in wilderness or less rather than more use of these supposedly protected natural areas by trail bikes, horses and 4WD tanks please take this opportunity to let NPWS know.

Thanks”
6. Knowles knifes the public forests again pre-empting the government’s forest ‘agreement’ reviews

A Greenie who is also undoubtedly a greenie sent OF&W a copy of a Carr govt media release dated 2nd June likely to please Peter Cochrane’s logger mates. Minister Knowles curiously re-announced 20 year resource security supply agreements out of public forests for sundry private north east sawmills effectively implying a further 250K tonnes of woodchips every year for 20 years ex Tea Gardens on the central coast. Detail of release complete with corporate rent seekers is at: http://dipnr.nsw.gov.au/mediarel/mo20040601_2681.html

As sad and immoral as this is for saving water catchments, unique insects, plants and critters generally most greenies, official or otherwise, will be wondering what purpose the govt funded forest ‘agreement’ reviews only kicking off this week? Applications for the official greenie coordinator closed with the Nature Conservation Council of NSW on June 4th – refer OF&W #4 item 8 of 24th May. Notice Knowles put the knife into the review and the north east forests 2 days before the establishment greens got out of the blocks. But no will be held accountable. It’s just not done like that since Dunphy died.

Perhaps Knowles thinks it will help the Latham push in north east marginals but obviously he hasn’t read the survey of 60% plus opposition of rural and regional voters of East Gippsland to woodchipping and any native forest logging actually with a clear preference to existing purpose grown plantations.

This was announced the same day Knowles took two hits

- Mayor Clover Moore $11M deal blocking forever a new high rise on Sydney Harbour at Pyrmont; and
- postponement of the Commission of Inquiry into a Carr govt’s project to jam the biggest container ships in the world into Botany Bay - and all that implies for Sydney congestion including tripling of container trucks all over Sydney.

So one wonders if the forests copped it in a bad hair/news day? Again a cheap shot to be sure but Knowles is bald as bowling ball a bit like old ALP strong arm Tom Domican. Now there’s a comparison in modus operandi.



7. Forces of Darkness II: govt’s ‘Bush Telegraph’ propaganda
Also hot off the presses of the Allied Forces of Darkness in this D-Day against the environment is the folksy Bush Telegraph winter 2004 magazine (not to be confused with the excellent Bush Telegraph radio national programme most days at 11am.)

This is the NSW Govt rebranded “State Forests” Dept propaganda, a new tag in the mid 1990’s (just like the re-labelling of Forest ‘Protection’ Society at item 4) from the 80 year old “Forestry Commission” as the brand was tainted by woodchipping 400 year old heritage, feral protests and numerous adverse legal decisions.

Seems not much has changed though – front cover shows 6 fierce saw blades in one of those arty close up shots. Of most interest apart from the sawmilling ‘figleaf for woodchipping’ story page 9 to cover the ongoing one million tonnes chips ex NSWevery year, is the merging of “State Forests” into a super Department of Primary Industry combined with Agriculture, Minerals and Fisheries. The other important item is the “Pine logs inaugural export from new Eden wharf”: Some 12,000 tonnes to China. Proof positive official policy makers at all levels are failing to value add public plantation resource on local turf to create jobs for facilitate transfer out of public forest. Why am I not surprised? These people are not serious.

8. Forces of Darkness III: NowDaishowa corporate parent gets bout of the rebrands.

In the tradition of local loggers and their cronies it seems the new Japanese parent “Nippon Unipac Holding” has caught the rebranding disease. It’s local operation – the notorious Daishowa woodchipper at Eden NSW was first known as nice anglo guided multicultural “Harris-Daishowa” in the 70’s, then just “Daishowa” in the 90’s reflecting full Japanese control, and now euphemistically “South East Fibre Exports”. SEFL still woodchip 9 out of every 10 trees in public forest within a few hundred kilometers just like Gunns Ltd in Tasmania.

Bega based ChipStop http://www.chipstop.forests.org.au

writes 24 May that now parent “Nippon Unipac Holding” which took over increasingly corrupt parent Daishowa 3 years back will now be known as “Nippon Paper Group, Inc” with a pithy comment “Big deal, but this symbolises that the takeover of Daishowa is now complete”

9. China resource boom to gulp the rest of our public forest?
Real cause for alarm says ChipStop probably referring to the public’s experience of previous craven local leadership on logging issues, quoting Paperloop.com, is news that:
“TOKYO, May 25, 2004 (Press Release) - Nippon Paper Industries Co. Ltd., Japan's leading paper and pulp manufacturing company and a core member of the Nippon Unipac Holding Group, has resolved to set up a sales company in Shanghai, China.”
Alarm says Chipstop because the access into China will “make it easier for NPI suppliers such as Eden (and Gunns) to expand into the Chinese market as the Japanese market gradually excludes native forest chips”: ChipStop


10. Tassie forest Sydney Town Hall bash sublimates into Garrett media news break?

A suspiciously weak media coverage of this stunning and surprisingly classy and well attended bash was the only sad feature last Saturday 5th June World Environment Day. A postage stamp in one of the Sunday papers referring to the low key charming Jimmy Barnes cameo was about it. But one could be mistaken for thinking all the rapture of energy of the 1,500 plus attendees - communing with equally enchanting and enchanted celebrities playing above themselves and blessed by a stunning audio visual more akin to the Wilderness Society halcyon days of the 80’s - was sublimated into the cascade of interest in the Peter Garrett story. But the event stood on its own. Mark my words if the world’s shortest maths tutorial of compere Adam Spencer is only half realized a new army has been born. Appropriately Christine Milne former Tassie State Greens leader has just announced her candidacy for the Senate late last week just as someone (?) has released guidelines for a new world scale pulp mill sourcing what (?). Readers advice welcome.

Proudly, Ecology Action pitched in to promote this event with distribution of a few thousand flyers, a hundred or so posters and subsidized $150 for an advert in the Sydney City News local govt and business reporter. A more detailed report of the bash will be available soon but one comment from Richard Flanagan international author may suffice: ‘If Qld is the moonlight state then Tasmania is the clearfell state’.

According to this metaphor NT is the Uranium ‘State’, Victoria the Murder State, ACT the hot air balloon ‘State’ and NSW the Cash for Comment State.

11. Dempster’s Stateline digs deeper as Carr green figleaf(s) cover putrefaction?

Speaking of Cash for Comment I wonder if Quentin Dempster knows what he does? Stateline ran a Newspoll: July-August 2003 Carr had a 56% satisfaction rating 29% not, and now after a clear trend March-April only 43% satisfied with more at 46% dis-satisfied. With such a trend you might expect rats to start jumping. Certainly Roozendaal as state ALP secretary has foreshadowed a sinecure to the Upper House lounge bar. On the same Stateline the lead in was footage of the “environment movement”- well no.

It was one man, Jeff Angel (as opposed to say financially independent Wilderness Society see item 10) joining in a Carr sledge this time over privatization of water rights justifying a return “to the barricades”: A very important issue no doubt not unlike the million hectares of woodland cleared under Carr 1997-2002, million tonnes of woodchips per year since 1995,and sundry other big ticket issues over the last 8 years yet Angel wrote pre 2003 state election Sydney Morning Herald that Carr was the greenest premier in the history of Australia no less. On a mere technicality since 1992 I have never seen Angel at one “barricade” and not many open campaigner forums for that matter. These are the kind of gatherings where issues of accountability and real delegated authority tend to get sorted sometimes with big professional bruises. But not possible if one does not attend.

Our view is Carr is the biggest greenwash merchant in the history of Australia. Can we expect another juicy grant to a certain select environment group to stay away from nasty Dempster in future?

New item: A Botany Battler writes of her disgust at the high handed attitude of the Carr govt:
“Many people I know are very disturbed by the way this government operates. I don't believe that the major players truely support public education. So much advice comes from The Cabinet Office and when you read the last Annual Report (which I did last night http://www.cabinet.nsw.gov.au/INDEX2.pdf ) you find that Staffing levels from 2001-2003 have risen from 118 to 147. And further that in that time there has been an increase from 11 to 26 of those at SES level. Pretty incredible when everyone at the coalface is asked to do so much more with so much less. Also pretty incredible if you have had experience of correspondence from TOC. They are being paid a lot to do deals and stifle debate.”



12 . Domain Figs latest via Clover Moore E-news

It may be the Great Delegator, Mayor Clover Moore, and here big financial stick of further legal costs if the Gardens ‘Trust’ gets out the chainsaws again has brought some pause to the situation. Time will tell very soon. Clover Moore’s Enews June 4th is optimistic but we Sydney siders believe what we see:
“City AND Trust to protect trees

The City of Sydney Council unanimously resolved this week to enter into a “Memorandum of Understanding” with the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust about future tree management of 19th century landscapes.

Council also approved a new Tree Preservation Order (TPO) for the entire enlarged City of Sydney local government area.

This TPO will not apply to land under the control of the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust and Council hopes that the agreement between the City and the Trust will protect trees in the Domain,
including the historic figs along Hospital Road.

Council entered into discussions for a Memorandum of Understanding, but if we are not successful in saving the trees in Hospital Road, Council will reconsider extending the Tree Preservation Order.

I received a letter received this week from both the Planning and Environment Ministers stating their support for an agreement between Council and the Trust. It would seem that both Ministers and the
Trust believe that if the City’s Tree Preservation Order was extended, it would be enforceable.

If the City of Sydney had not intervened we would have lost the fig trees by now. There is overwhelming support from the community for our actions; 10,000 signatures collected on petitions gives us a strong
mandate.

It is in everyone’s interest that there is a Tree Management Plan for the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Domain that is supported by the City and the community.”
[To subscribe/unsubscribe to independent Oz Forest & Woodland send to ecologya [at] wix.com.au]

non-profit media about your environment, in a human rights and social justice context