There could be even darker hidey-holes for political donations if John Howard's gang gets its proposed electoral changes through. It will allow anonymous donations of up to $10,000. This means that each state, territory and federal branch of a political party could receive $10,000 each, totalling $90,000 all up - and all in total secrecy.
Howard secretly promised a $4 million gift to a forestry union group just three days before the last election. This explains why the loggers, with encouragement from the union, rejected an $800 million forest jobs package offered by Mark Latham, for the $70 million package offered by Howard. This and the jubilant response by loggers for the Prime Minister in Launceston just didn't make sense at the time.
Bob Humphries, owner of the big Cann River sawmill, is sore over new prices for logs and wants the government to reduce royalty prices to below cost price . He says demand for native forest timber is falling and they can't get as much for sawn timber any more. After decades of receiving welfare in the form of cheap resources and industry assistance it must be hard to get back into the world of commercial realism.
He complained that VicForests, which is supposed to look at commercial aspects, has gone and 'lifted the price of logs on a downward spiralling market'.
The Australian Environment Foundation fell flat on its face right from the start. Even the gullible and tame journalists from rural media didn't swallow their lines.
A well-known woodchipping industry supporter and lobbyist, Kirsten Gentle, launched a US style front group on World Environment Day. The attempt to mimic a highly respected national environment group, the Aust Conservation Foundation, didn't fool anyone.
The largest paper mill in Australia is based in Gippsland and is planning to expand - with the government’s full blessing and financial assistance. It will need an additional 200,000 m3 of eucalypt pulpwood. But where will it come from?
To help with expansion plans of the Paperlinx (Australian Paper) mill in the Latrobe Valley, the Bracks government has committed $50 million towards a $150 million water recycling plant.
The Morwell plant will recycle domestic and industrial water using basic treatment to take the smell out of the water before it is released. The stink from the open channel it flows through to the outfall sewer at Dutson Downs was creating major problems.
What we see going on with Tasmanian woodchips could well set the scene for the rest of us battling to save our forests.
When a 10% drop in orders for Tasmanian woodchips was announced, green groups were blamed. The reduction and subsequent job losses are squarely the result of green groups telling lies to overseas buyers, according to Forestry Tasmania anyway.
The logging industry is worried they might lose their access to old growth forests. To avoid this "loss" they helped establish a secret plan to carry out dodgy technical trials- with a predetermined outcome.