Forest Issues

VicForests' dividend - the truth!

Friday, November 13, 2015

invoice to VicForests from the Victorian public 2015

View invoice (PDF) here

Opening VicForests 2014 - 2015 Annual Report, the corporation's chairman, Gordon Davies, makes the proud assertion that "These results have enabled us to pay increasing dividends to the Government, providing a financial return to the people of Victoria in addition to all of the social benefits the native timber industry provides". This is reinforced by a similar claim in the CEO's Report, "Our ongoing positive financial position has enabled us to pay dividends to our shareholder, the Treasurer - $250,000 based on the 2012-13 results, $765,000 on the 2013-14 results and a proposed $1.5 million based on this year’s results". 

In case anybody has missed it, "Payment of a dividend of $765,000 based on 2013-14 results", is reiterated as a 'Highlight' of the Annual Report. 

These misleading claims appear to be deliberately repeated in order to imply that a dividend was paid during the reporting year.

VicForests – 11 years of loss-loss

Friday, November 13, 2015

 

VicForests is crowing that this 2014/15 year, it made a profit of $4.68 million.

And for the first time in eight years, a dividend of $765 000 was paid to the people of Victoria via the Treasurer and VicForests is still thinking about paying last year’s owed dividend of $1.5 million. Whether we’ll see it is another thing. On a backlogged debt of $60 million, it’s a start. VicForests claims it’s paid a return to Victorian’s of $5 million (in 2006 and 2007). $5 million represents a very small recompense to the state for $871 million worth of publicly owned wood pulp and timber from our native forests.

Cottonwood Range – showcase of cataclysmic clearing

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Cottonwood Range near Bendoc - regeneration failure

When the GECO crew scouted the Cottonwood range near Bendoc they found old growth forest is being logged 1km from this appallingly bad logged site.  It was logged 11 years previously. Their photograph shows it had its earlier wattle regrowth scalped back to bare earth in the hope of coaxing eucalypts back first, but has been rendered a barren landscape devoid of anything but dead bracken.  


Even more shocking is VicForests’ plan to clearfell another 20 stands of forest within 2kms.

Lancefield fire investigatator scrutinised

Saturday, October 17, 2015

After the escaped burn around Lancefield during the week of 6 October burnt 3,000 hectares, destroyed 4 homes, dozens of sheds, fences and pasture, the Victorian Government has commissioned Mr Murray Carter to oversee an enquiry.

Murray Carter Mr Carter was the Manager of the WA Department of Environment and Conservation’s Fire Management Services at the time of WA’s horrific Margaret River fires in 2011. Escaped burns there destroyed 32 homes, nine chalets, four sheds and burnt out more than 3,400 hectares. A 50,000 hectare wildfire south of Nannup, a small town 70 km east of Margaret river, was also caused by an escape from a prescribed burn lit at the same time as the Margaret River burns. These were the two most costly and disastrous escapes from prescribed burns in WA and it all happened under Mr Carter’s management.

Mr Carter was then promoted to Director of Western Australia's Office of Bushfire Risk Management. He appears to have no qualifications in fire ecology or risk management, but has worked within the WA bureaucracy for many years.

Lancefield fire investigation – a smokescreen?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Lancefield escaped burn Oct 2015The public has every reason to be sceptical of the outcome of the investigation the Victorian Government has commissioned into the escaped departmental burn during the week of 6 October 2015.  There is huge public outrage over the burn that turned into a wildfire and destroyed over 4,000 hectares, 4 homes, dozens of sheds, fences and pasture around Lancefield. This ‘independent’  investigator from WA was also being investigated for the very same failings in 2011-12 when he managed WA’s most disastrous escape burn that destroyed 32 homes and nine chalets in WA’s tourist region of Margaret River.

Mr Murray Carter seems an inappropriate appointment to oversee this enquiry or quell the outrage. Will this be a careful cover-up under the guise of an independent investigation? It is expected to report back by early November. Read more detail here

We are also hearing that the attitude of many DELWP employees in the local area is as appalling as we witnessed during the 2014 Goongerah-Deddick fires. We are hearing outrageous stories of DELWP vehicles and contractors bulldozing through people’s private properties, knocking down valuable vegetation and trees that pose no risk, without so much as a g’day. The disrespect is profound. The more work DELWP and contracted bulldozer drivers can find, the better their pay cheque. We seem to be witnessing another replay of the Red Gold incentive running the show, as seen so many times before!

Safer not to burn at all? Report shows burns are ineffective

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Lancefield escaped burn 2015Yet again a DELWP burn turned into a catastrophic 3,000 ha bushfire in early October. It burnt most of the Cowbar Forests, much of its wildlife was burnt alive, four homes were lost, as well as sheds, fences and pasture. We are told by DELWP that it didn’t have the resources to ensure this planned burn was blacked out properly. But what is the logic behind burning in the first place?

Petition - Immediate halt to planned burns - review fire management policies.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Planned burns can be extremely dangerous and difficult to control. Despite trained personnel, investigations and recommendations for improved fire management over the years, fire, weather and poor judgment still causes major disasters.

The IGEM report released in May acknowledged the ineffectiveness of large scale burns to protect communities. It recommended alternative risk reduction measures believed to be far more effective.

EEG has created an online petition to ask the Premier and Ministers Neville (Environment) and Garret (Emergency Services) to halt more planned burns while a thorough review of the effectiveness of burns is looked into. Please – if you feel as strongly about this as thousands do at the moment – sign and share this online Care2 petition.

We’d love thousands of signatures!

TPP and our environment

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Wikileaks released the environment and investment chapters of the TPP earlier in 2014. Instead of a 21st Century standard of protection, the leaked text shows that the obligations are weak and compliance with them is unenforceable.

These chapters do the bidding of multinationals. The investment chapter is written in their favour and the environmental clauses are deliberately worded so they can't be enforced. It spouts sugar coated rhetoric - no legal teeth. Offer of meaningless dispute resolution and chat sessions only.

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