A watch­dog for Tas­ma­nian forests?

The Saturday Paper - - Letters & Editorial -

“Mis­man­age­ment” is far too po­lite for what is hap­pen­ing to Tas­ma­nia’s forests (Bob Brown, “The tree of mis­man­age­ment”, Septem­ber 2-8). They have long been the spe­cial in­gre­di­ent in the pork bar­rels of both the ma­jor par­ties when in govern­ment de­spite be­ing a mas­sive fi­nan­cial rathole and the most de­struc­tive of ex­trac­tive in­dus­tries. At the height of the wood­chip ex­port frenzy, Tas­ma­nia had the high­est pro­por­tional rate of na­tive for­est de­struc­tion in the OECD. Plans for the aborted gi­ant pulp mill in­cluded the gift­ing of bil­lions of dol­lars in state for­est roads and sur­round­ing public for­est to the mill pro­po­nent in free­hold. An alarmed public ser­vant leaked, to no avail, the covert gift­ing of 77,809 hectares of the state’s plan­ta­tion es­tate, worth maybe $200 mil­lion, to the state’s forestry Govern­ment Busi­ness En­ter­prise, pre­sum­ably to pay off debt. The Tas­ma­nian po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment makes no se­cret of its con­tempt for con­ser­va­tion in prin­ci­ple, but has yet to openly re­nounce ba­sic fi­nan­cial in­tegrity. Be­fore they do, we need to im­pose on them a se­ri­ously in­de­pen­dent In­de­pen­dent Com­mis­sion Against Cor­rup­tion or at least some­thing like the fidu­ciary du­ties no­tion­ally in­cum­bent on cor­po­rate chiefs.

– John Hay­ward, Wee­gena, Tas

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