$74,000 to hide Goolengook tapes

The Bracks Government has spent more than $74,000 fighting a Freedom of Information request for Department of Sustainability and Environment video tapes of the March 2002 raid on Goolengook. This is despite giving edited clips to television for broadcast.

DSE says it is protecting the identity of its staff from intimidation by conservationists! The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal accepted the DSE excuse that officers in small communities lived in fear of abuse (!?).

Releasing a tape with faces pixilated was said to be too costly, estimated by the DSE to be $19,800. Yet the department spent more than $74,000 fighting documentary film maker, Peter Vaughan in VCAT rather than initiating negotiations to find a resolution. The department also spent $1.7 million over several weeks keeping protesters at bay while clearfelling went on. It earned $85,000 in royalties from the logs. There is now a moratorium on logging the remaining forests.

Peter Vaughan is also set to fight another FOI application for documents relating to charges (now dropped) that the department laid against him a year after the Goolengook raid.

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