Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 34

RS117C TN046A FL105C
TY030G PC070B BT007A
BT009D PC085A DU021B
BT013A BV011B RP034A
PC015B PC024B TN012C
RU043H MD102B DU022C
CM004C CF043C HA019C
BS115H BB021E PC072B
MO109A RU047E RU032B
SA044B BT011C WR008A
DU020C BT012D BO093A
TA013A SX020G MB011D
TN044B BS101D NH010A
TY032A CF027A

You might be wondering: what do all these letters and numbers mean?  Let me explain.

Every single one of these represents an area of forest, like the one I am sitting in right now. A home to animals like Davina the devil, quolls, wedge-tail eagles, pademelons, wombats, echidnas….

Every one represents an area promised protection in August 2011 by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Every single one represents a logging coupe that will be logged and fire-bombed, due to the new “conservation agreement” signed last Friday by the State and Federal governments.

Every one of these forests will be turned into veneer by Malaysian company Ta Ann and sold as so-called “eco-ply” around the world.

This is the list of “excluded” coupes in the conservation agreement. This is the death row register for our forests. This is Julia’s legacy.

If you look down the list you will see TN44B – the name that Forestry Tasmania give to this remarkable patch of forest that has been my home for the past month.

There has been a lot of confusion these past few days about the announcement of the conservation agreement. The government has certainly attempted to make it seem like they are protecting the forest. But when you take a look at the facts the answers are clear. What would forest protection look like? Well, you would think it would mean a reduction in logging of high conservation value areas, for a start. Has these “conservation agreement” done this? No. This agreement puts forward a plan to log every coupe that Forestry Tasmania wants to log, to give Ta Ann access to thousands of hectares of high conservation value forest that was meant to be protected.

There has been no change in the rate at which old growth and high conservation value forest is falling in Tasmania. If anything, there has been an increase.

It’s funny how after a while all these numbers being to fill your mind…. 44a, 9b, 45b, 10f, 42e, 48a…. Perhaps a meaningless list of random numbers and letters. But for some reading this one or more of those combinations will jump out at them, touch their hearts. Perhaps with fond memories, perhaps with that pang of sadness, a quick flash across your mind of burning stumps and the sound of chainsaws.  It’s funny how these numbers stay with me. Like scars I carry, reminding me of places loved and lost.  Sometime they stop me in my tracks as I walk past that house with the letter box marked 44a, or when the bus drives past on route 42e…

I wonder what it is like for those who work at 79 Melville St, Hobart; HQ for Forestry Tasmania. As they flick through pages and pages of numbers and letters, do they ever see anything beyond those codes?  And then I wonder what it meant to Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke and Tasmanian State Environment Minister Bryan Green on Friday as they put their signatures to this list.  As their hands reached down to sign the page did they notice those little numbers tn44b – did they see the big old Eucalypts, the fern gullies, the wedge tail eagle, Davina or those baby devils hiding in their den? Or did it slide past their eyes… tn44b… as meaningless as a language they don’t understand?

I invite all you reading this blog, and you Tony Burke, Bryan Green, Julia Gillard… I invite you the Japanese companies buying this wood from Ta Ann…. take the time to get to know these forests. They deserve to be more than a number on a logging schedule. They are amazing places, all  the unique in their own way. All of them irreplaceable. And all of them urgently needing protection – needing your help.

On a final note I’d just like to say a big thank you to all the people that stood up for these forests today.   With the Prime Minister in town it was a great opportunity for people in Hobart to let her know what we all think of her broken promises and the so-called “conservation agreement.”  I think my favourite quote from Julia Gillard’s response today has to be this (reported in the herald sun) “I do expect people who have been in that process every step of the way to hold to the process they agreed to.”  Hmm….  This is a very good idea, Julia, I must say.

Till tomorrow,

P.S:  My sincere apologies for not blogging on the weekend. I had a  power shortage. Many thanks to the people who offered their time and equipment to help me sort it out. And the brand new set up with extra solar panel and a great little wind generator for those inevitable rainy times will keep me back online.

Banner from today's action

Posted on January 16, 2012, in Daily Blog. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Awesome! Love the analogy about letters and numbers. Miss you


  2. Her remarks were worse than that Miranda. You quoted her as saying:

    “”I do expect people who have been in that process every step of the way to hold to the process they agreed to,” Ms Gillard said.”

    Here is what she also said. I heard her on the radio and found it quite challenging. Please readers, read the following text account of what she said that preceded the quoted statement:

    ”’Ms Gillard said the government would rely on a “verification process” undertaken by independent forest expert Jonathan West. Stakeholders and environmental groups had agreed to the process, she said. “This isn’t the federal government or indeed the state government saying to stakeholders “you must do this or you must do that. It happened the other way around,” Ms Gillard said. “I do expect people who have been in that process every step of the way to hold to the process they agreed to,” Ms Gillard said.”’

    The Prime Minister is here calling on us to support the process, as if it allows interim logging within the 430k ha – which it doesn’t. She seeks to remove her govt and that of Tas from responsibility for the controversy.

    Goodness gracious, apparently it’s us who are breaking the process! When we challenge FT to stop the logging because the IGA gave immediate interim protection to the 430k ha, apparently it’s us who are not sticking to the process. Clause 27? What Clause 27?

    One thing has become apparent. The Prime Minister has learnt well from Orwell. A thing can become not-true just be ignoring it, become not-true by denying it, not-true by publishing alternative truth, authorised truth, considered truth, the truth that ‘reasonable’ people will recognise. Double-speak. And we are marginalised.

    The truth before the PM and the Tas Govt wiped Clause 27 from the official accounts, was that if contracts could not be met by rescheduling/locating logs elsewhere, $compensation was to be paid, because logging in the 430 could not happen in the interim.

    I wish, as does Miranda, that the Governments and FT would stick to the process, instead they have signed a new ‘Conservation Agreement’, pretending that it gives effect to the IGA. I find it truly disappointing to hear our Prime Minister saying publicly that we should hold to the process, when it is obvious that she is breaking it. As Miranda asked us to do (before Christmas), I wrote to PM Julia Gillard and to Premier Lara Giddings pointing out the obligations under Clause 27 – they have not yet replied.

  3. Where is the public explanation from the entrusted independent forest expert Jonathan West? The only three permitted conservation signatories to the IGA were just TWS, ET and ACF – where is their public statement?

    Gillard’s kowtowing to ‘stakeholders’ rather than dutifully executing the IGA is ‘management by avoidance’. Only the two Labor governments are ‘parties’ to the IGA. It is the ‘parties’ not the signatories that are responsible to execute the directives of the IGA.

    Gillard’s sidelining of this responsibility is a betrayal and indicates that she has a duplicitous deal with the forestry industry powerbrokers or the task is beyond her leadership ability or both.

  4. Good questions Tigerquoll. Your “Only the two governments are ‘parties’ to the IGA” says what was in my mind, but couldn’t crystalise.

  5. But Tigerquoll: you asked, “The only three permitted conservation signatories to the IGA were just TWS, ET and ACF – where is their public statement?” I went to each of their websites, and each of the organisations have issued statements critical of the ‘Conservation Agreement’.

    As for Professor West’s statement, I’m not sure that he has actually made his report yet. Maybe the Con. Agreement beat him to the punch. Maybe not.

    Are there mossies up at your level Miranda?

  6. Miranda, without your protest, perhaps the Tasmanian Premier would not have Forests on her front page. So well done! Check http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/

    Garry, sorry you’re right. I was reading the mainstream media and should have checked, which I have now. The consistent hurdles they identify are rogue FT breaching the IGA, Gillard’s decision avoidance to crystalise the 572ha ‘informal’ reserves to being ‘formal’ and the uncertainty it is causing, and not invoking the compensation clause.

    Now introducing a so-called ‘Conservation Agreement’ after the IGA adds to the process confusion. Professor West needs to take to the podium and clarify with Tasmanians what the current status is. IGA deadlines have past.

    FT’s media release 16th Jan 2012 talks of meeting legal, contractual, fiduciary and environmental obligations before signing. Problem is FT maintains that “harvesting in a number of coupes within the 430,000 hectares will be required during the independent verification process, if FT is to continue to honour its legally enforceable wood supply agreements.”

    So key sticking point is why Giddings/Gillard don’t rule on invoking the IGA compensation clause 27 so FT CAN meet its legal, contractual, fiduciary and environmental obligations – through cash instead of timber.

    FT argues its ‘guaranteed wood supply under IGA Clause 17 necessarily include coupes inside the 430ha and that this translates to less than 1/2 of 1% of the 430ha. Surely such a small volume of suitable wood supply can be foudn outside the 430ha and if not, which si doubt, the compoensation iw there to substitute.

    Simply, Clause 27 ‘compensation’ overrules Clause 17 ‘guaranteed wood supply’.
    I read the Premier’s current ‘letter from her desk’ and between the lines the delay it to allow a thrashing out of COMPROMISE between the parties. What needs to be pushed is that ‘interim’ does not mean negotiable, it is critically dependent on Professor West determining whether all 572ha are indeed HCV under Clause 28. The only room for compromise is if he finds coupes in the 572ha that are not HCV – which means FT can log em.

  7. Thanks Tigerquoll, and your point

    “Simply, Clause 27 ‘compensation’ overrules Clause 17 ‘guaranteed wood supply’.”

    is correctly and succinctly made.

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