Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 46

I was beaming! Beaming with excitement and beaming across the net, past these mountains and forests and straight into Parliament lawns in Hobart. What a fantastic experience to be one of the key speakers at the Picnic in the Park event and have the opportunity to tell the crowd of people gathered today all about this area of forest I’m living in. And to encourage everyone to get on board and get active (with a special reminder to people about the upcoming global 24 hours of action coming up on February 15).

The day was a great success with a good turn out and all the technology running smoothly too! I really enjoyed Senator Christine Milne’s speech, in which she raised some questions we should all be asking Forestry Tasmania and the government , in relation to Ta Ann’s wood contract. For example, does Ta Ann only have to pay for the wood that leaves Tasmania on their ships as veneer? This means that all the wood that goes through their gates but which they reject, all the wood that becomes waste product during their processing, all the wood that they do not eventually ship overseas, is never paid for. And why are the details of the contract censored on Forestry Tasmania’s website, when it is a contract that concerns all Tasmanians?

Christine’s media release today requests answers from Forestry to the following list of questions:
” 1.How is it that after Forestry Tasmania lost two thirds of its contracts with the demise of Gunns, that it has to log inside the 430,000 hectares of HCV forests to meet one third of its contracts?
2.Has Forestry Tasmania over allocated the forests?
3.Has Forestry Tasmania massively over cut the forests over a long period of time and would not have been able to meet both Gunns and Ta Ann’s contracts if both were still in business?
4.Does the TA Ann contract only require Ta Ann to pay for the volumes that leave the wharf and not for the logs that are delivered to its plant?
5.Where do the unpaid for rejected logs and waste go?
6.When the Commonwealth gave Ta Ann $10 million to set up in Tasmania , it was to process lesser quality logs  hence not from HCV areas, how is it that Ta Ann is now demanding logs from HCV areas?
7.Who changed the specifications of the original contract?”

The speeches were followed by a more informal discussion, giving people from the audience a chance to ask questions. After this I was moved to a new location, a tent where people could come and chat to me individually. It was so wonderful to talk to people about what I’m doing up here, to share ideas, hear people’s thoughts and opinions and to receive message of support. Thanks to everyone that came along today I hope you were inspired by the day as I was!

Here are a few photos from today taken by photographer Alan Lesheim.

Facepainting

Sara Maynard - Tasmanian Aboriginal Council

Senator Chirstine Milne

Vica introduces me to the audience

My moment on the big screen!

Jenny Weber - Huon Valley Environment Centre

Taking part in discussion group

Discussion group audience

And talking on the small screen

For those not in Hobart, sorry that you missed out. But there is always the option of organising something in your local town!

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Posted on January 28, 2012, in Daily Blog, Photos. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hello Miranda – it was a great day and you helped make it special. So many individuals and families to talk to. I went around with the TWS pamphlet maps of the HCV areas to show them what you and Christine and Vica and Jenny were talking about, Everyone was positive and when shown the pictures understood your message even more. Pictures are powerful – as is your blog and video diary.
    This was my FB post tonight:
    Today I experienced a joyous time, a multitude of families and generations, from a multitude of backgrounds, sitting on Parliament Lawns listening and participating in a celebration of Tasmanian forests and the potential future of forestry and our wilderness environment. It was warm, happy and positive. Miranda Gibson of the Observer Tree joined us on skype, Christine Milne asked some very necessary questions about Ta Ann contracts, Vica Bayley TWS made the point that the agreement to assess high conservation forests in a calm space is being adversely effected by Forestry Tasmania continually logging in the moratorium areas. Jenny Weber from HVEC calmly told us the story of why action in forests are still necessary until governments fulfill their promises.
    We had music, kids space and we had people really interested – as the often stodgy figures came to life in pictures and words from people who care about peace in the forests NOW. The Tasmanian Forestry Intergovernmental Agreement process has brought ‘old’ enemies around the table in a genuine 18 month deliberation with compromise on both sides in the spirit of a positive future for regional communities on our beautiful island. It is now in the hands of our elected politicians to make this work – Julia G and Lara Giddings are on notice as they signed their names to the agreement and have now ‘played’ with the details with the support of Tony Burke. I am hopeful that we can all make a difference but the next 5 months are critical for legislation to be passed here in Tassie ( in the Legislative Council) by 30 June 2012. If not…..well…..all the Federal money available for maintaining the new conservation areas and regional development will go somewhere else.
    The Global 24 Hour Action 14-15 Feb will be huge.
    Thank you Miranda

  2. Thank you Miranda. It was fantastic at our end. There were people all around the place, but most of us stayed back in the shade of the trees, so you mightn’t have seen us all. Jenny has got a real good handle on the issues. For me, the great learning that I got, was more knowledge about this Ta Ann stuff, the contract which is secret, them accessing the ‘immediately protected HCV areas’ and other related stuff. Christine was good on that. So was Jenny.

    You asked us before Christmas to act to tell the Premier and PM that they should honour/trigger the compensation clause, Clause 27, as they committed to doing, rather than allow interim logging in the 430k ha. (I hope I remembered that correctly) I wrote to both in December. Yesterday I got an answer from Bryan Green. I hope you don’t mind if I mention it here…

    Bryan Green told me that he understood my point about the compensation Clause 27: “the TFIGA required all logging within the 430,000 hectare area to cease while the IVG undertook its tasks, the governments wanted to ensure that the commitments to meet existing contractual wood supply to industry are also met.” (He actually ignored the compensation Clause – for him, it does not exist.)

    OOPS! I almost left out this bit…

    “… The IVG [Independent Verification Group will not actually recommend the future classification of these areas, just what conservation values they hold. Based on this advice, it will be the State Government that recommends and then the Parliament that will approve the appropriate land tenure for any reserves nominated by the IVG.] ”

    So even if the IVG confirm that the 430k ha and the 572k ha had HCV values, the government will decide what recommended areas go to the Parliament. That is pretty crappy. In effect, Bryan Green has just said that he gets the final call on what is HCV – it will be him who will approve a draft Bill to go to Cabinet and then to the Parliament.

    And even now he is allowing it to be logged, in spite of his government’s agreement with the Feds. You must know that there are many of us who support your action. Today’s Picnic in the Park was wonderful. The tucker was great. We are all going to have to hang together to support our forests, and those that live in it. If anyone reads this, please, would you jump on the net, find Gillard’s and Gidding’s email addresses and voice your concerns.

    [Cant find the addresses? Put it here on the blog comments and someone will give you the addresses.]

    • Garry,

      Bryan Green is Tasmanian Forestry Minister responsible for Forestry Tasmania. As a consequence of repeated gross performance failings of FT, FT boss Bob Gordon and Bryan Green ought to have been sacked long ago. FT posted an operating loss of $12 million last financial year and the viability of FT is in doubt without taxpayer bailout.

      Both Gillard’s IGA and Burke’s more recent Conservation Agreement to rein in FT were established out of failure of the Tasmanian Government and the likes of Green to resolve Tasmania’s native forest logging dispute.

      Green is not a party to the IGA nor the Conservation Agreement. Both are there to overrule his incompetence. Green is part of the problem, so one would expect him to be intentionally ignorant of the IGA clauses to suit his own ends – aka FT’s ends.

      Nothing in the IGA allows any party to overrule the HCV decisions by the Verification Group. There is no blow in clause to allow the like of Green to any so called ‘final call’.

      Any interference by Green in the IGA is void. If Green is allowed to decide the HCV inclusions it would breached and nullify the IGA as if it never existed.

      Since the inception of TCFA funding in 2004-05,

      1. FT’s net cash from operations has nose-dived, reversing a previous upward trend
      2. FT’s dividend to the state (and people) of Tasmania has declined to zero for the past three financial years
      3. Despite the injection of over $145m in TCFA funds over this 5 year period, there has been an increase in the amount of TCFA funds not spent (recorded as Revenue Received in Advance [RRIA]) which reached over $51m in 2009-10.
      4. Under the TCFA, this RRIA must be spent on the purposes for which it was allocated – mainly for plantation establishment and maintenance [Intensive Forest Management].

      However, the cash reserves (and equity from which this future financial commitment must be met, have nosedived along with the net cash from operations (Cash at EoY minus RRIA.

      Conclusion:

      1.Despite an injection of over $145.7m of public funds over the past five years, FT’s financial performance has degenerated at an alarming rate.
      2. In this period, FT has paid only $3.7m in dividends and $3.5m in tax – a total of $7.2m.
      3. This represents a cost to the community of $138.5 m in 5 years.

      Furthermore:

      * As the Auditor General noted in his 2010 report on FT, ‘there has not been any return to the government over the period of review [2006-07 to 2009-10]’ apart from a dividend of $1.3m in 2006-07
      * The Auditor General also stated that ‘we have concerns over Forestry’s longer term
      liquidity’
      *The state and people of Tasmania are bearing this loss at a time when the state budget needs to find savings of over $430m.
      [Source: http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/ctee/Council/Submissions/Govt%20A_ForestryTasFinancials%20-%20Louise%20Crossley%20Submission.pdf%5D

      Green, Gordon and FT are the fish heads of Tasmania and this is where the rot starts.

  3. Sounds like a fantastic day

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