Politics

50 year forest war – negotiation starts

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Will the 50 year forest war in Victoria be coming to an end? Will we all be able to reach consensus on a win-win solution? The Andrews government has set up a taskforce between industry and environment reps to get down to the job of sorting the conflict out once and for all. It could involve looking at the large plantation estate we have in the west of the state which could be the secure future the industry needs, and the way to bring peace to our battered forests and dependent wildlife.

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.

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?

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.

Valuing Victoria's Parks

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This new government report details the ecosystem services provided by the states parks and reserves. It includes the water and carbon values, biodiversity protection, recreational benefits and employment, and loads more. If this is what a small section of Victoria’s natural areas can offer – just imagine how much more benefit we would get from protecting all natural areas from logging and exploitation.

Just one small section states that:

Review of 5% burn target admits failure – plans for more effective risk reduction

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The controversial hectare based burn target of 5% of public land annually was reviewed earlier this year by the Inspector General of Emergency Management. The findings and recommendations were released in April this year and the government is still to announce if it will adopt the recommendations.

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