$400,000 annually to silence critics
With the late 2010 state election out of the way, VicForests released its 2010 Sustainability report, a classic piece of Spin from the last days of the Brumby era. This year VicForests appears to be more concerned with hosing down community concerns over salvage logging and biodiversity protection than providing any information about its performance – the results for VicForests compliance with standards that appeared in the 2009 report is missing from the 2010 report.
In the 2010 report, you’ll find that VicForests substantially ramped up its propaganda effort in rural areas. In addition to the public relations unit in the head office, VicForests appointed two people with the ominous title of ‘Community relationship managers’ in its regional offices.
To help prop up VicForests’ image in the community, they have been throwing a lot of money at a wide range of community projects: $55,000 donation for the Gippsland air ambulance, $2000 grants to worthy community groups in East Gippsland, sponsorship of woodchop competitions, sponsorship of Launching Place State School Aerobics team and footballs for the Healesville footy club are a few examples.
They also spent money on public relations consultants to help them push the VicForests line in the media: “We increased our efforts to ensure that a more balanced debate about the industry was had [sic]”.With the media already filled with hysterical anti-green propaganda, this massive corporate propaganda drive costing VicForests at least $300,000-$400,000 each year is clearly designed to silence alternate views rather than produce any balance.