Sweet RFA for our environment

Forests across Australia have been exempt from federal logging laws since RFAs were signed. Above is a destroyed stand of forest in the Acheron – logged under the RFA. Rare and threatened species have continued to be killed and habitats destroyed.

The Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) sprang from the Earth Summit conference in Rio de Janiero in 1992 where Australia signed a ‘Global ...

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Charcoal burner over the border

Eighteen months ago conservationists successfully fought off a proposal to log and burn the western NSW Pilliga and Goonoo forests to create charcoal for a silicone plant at Lithgow. It was another plan for a massive woodchip operation, only this time in the ironbark and box forests.

The proponents have been quietly sniffing about for alternative forests to plunder ever since. News just in states that the charcoal burner could go ahead at Mogo on the NSW south coast near Batemans ...

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Power and Morality

Like religion, power positions itself as the cure for the problem it has created.

Power without ethics creates elites who determine “reality” and create structures such as governments, religion, science institutions etc. They rely on “experts” who deliberately make simple reason too complex for the “ordinary”. Leaders manipulate reality and reason to suit. It is a powerful weapon. They never reflect on or criticise themselves and discourage and penalise others who do. But our weapon is simplicity and common sense.

Power comes ...

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NRE Blunders Exposed

REAL LIVE LOONEY TUNES

Years ago, a Warner Bros Loony Tune TV cartoon featured the Acme Toothpick Factory. Whole logs were shoved into the jaws of a huge machine that ground the log down to a tiny toothpick, leaving a huge pile of waste. Back then, this was pretty funny. Now that NRE has adopted the Loony Tune Toothpick Factory idea as policy, it’s pretty alarming.

If you want an idea of how far down the Loony Tune Toothpick Factory track the ...

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And they call this auditing?

After a long battle, NRE has finally coughed up their last detailed audit report on compliance with the Code of Forest Practice (CFP – an environmental code that’s a bit of a joke in itself). I can see why they were reluctant to release this report, even though they were obliged to release all the internal CFP audit reports and supporting documents for East Gippsland.

Under the current arrangements, the NRE’s checks to see if the CFP is being followed are ...

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Secret SFRI data

NRE is currently trying to produce estimates of how much forest and log volumes are available that don’t leave everybody rolling around the floor with fits of laughter. The Statewide Forest Resource Inventory (SFRI) aims to replace the old system of estimates on “log volumes” (read “forests”).

NRE has produced quite a little PR campaign surrounding the SFRI project including CDs with detailed maps showing where they expect to find most of the trees. You could almost believe that NRE has ...

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Massive increase in woodchip production

Figures released by DNRE in August have revealed a massive increase in woodchipping for the second year in a row. Bracks allowed Victorian loggers to rip out 1.09 million m3 of residual wood – a new record for the State. He still claims the RFA is balanced!

At the same time as woodchip volumes are skyrocketing, the volumes of sawlogs have dropped substantially from 800,000 m3 in 1999/2000 to only 650,000 m3 in 2000/2001. The royalty income for all this has ...

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Quoll’s extinction looms

It’s not guns and hunting like it was with the Thylacine, but the Spot-tailed (Tiger) Quoll is knowingly being annihilated by logging, poisoning and NRE’s latest “protection” plans.

Spot-tailed Quolls, the largest meat-eating marsupials surviving on the mainland, are on a slippery slide to extinction. They have gone >from rare to vulnerable to endangered in Victoria in just the last 10 years! However, the Victorian government’s measures to protect the Spot-tailed Quoll have been weakened in a draft rewriting of the ...

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Good news on biomass – Wood-fired power plan rejected

Stanwell Corporation is re-designing its proposed cogeneration plant at the Maryborough Sugar Mill, after the Queensland Government rejected its original plans to use native forest waste. It said “any project that depends on the use of native forest hardwood residues as supplementary fuel cannot be supported, even as an interim measure.” The Government suggested the company look at using cane trash or other options.

TXU steers away from wood waste

The TXU power company, which donated part of its land in Bairnsdale ...

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WA’s forest “win” was a con-job

he February WA election saw Labor promise to end 99% of old growth logging immediately and phase out export woodchipping by 2003. However, their commitment to the logging companies to supply huge volumes of logs until the end of 2003 has seen an increase in destruction of other important forests to account for protected old growth. These important conservation areas are being converted mostly to woodchips (90%).

To make up the shortfall in quota from old growth, logging of Jarrah in ...

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