Auditing the Auditors

An EEG investigation into the auditing of a tiny percent of logging coupes for adherence to environmental logging regulations has shown there to be huge abuse of the system by DSE foresters and overseers (or gross incompetence). This is not shown in the publicly available audit findings.

DSE has released the results of another audit of adherence to ‘environmental prescriptions’ for logging, which was conducted last year.

Four Forest Management Areas (FMAs) were checked and these included the Tambo FMA (forests around the Bairnsdale area). Community representatives were present during part of the Audit and were given documents that make interesting reading when compared with the Audit that was made public.

One was the logging coupe completion certificate that had been signed off with no record of any problems. In fact the DSE official even noted that the boys had done a ‘good job with weather problems’ draining a temporary road. However, the audit team found that the loggers had failed to build proper drainage along some 100m of a temporary road due to the wet weather. DSE foresters also claimed that the boundary tracks had been properly drained. However, the auditors found that the track was not drained at all. In fact, the idiots has built the boundary track on a drainage line and this had caused ‘severe scouring and tunnel erosion’. No wonder the locals are complaining that logging is affecting water quality in the area!

The auditors found plenty of other problems on this coupe, like inadequate rehabilitation of the landings. So why was a clearance certificate issued? Once signed, it clears the logging company of any liability for fixing up the mess – thanks for passing this bill on to the taxpayers, DSE.

Of course, DSE doesn’t let a few hiccups like these spoil an otherwise splendid report card for this FMA. They have a marvelous way of turning pretty dismal results into a great triumph. For example, overall results for rehabilitation of boundary roads is: 70% partly rehabilitated, 30% rehabilitated so hey presto, Tambo FMA gets 100% for full or part rehabilitation of boundary tracks.

I suppose you are asking, but how can Tambo possibly be getting 100% for this when just before I was telling you how one of these tracks was badly affected by tunnel erosion. Well in its haste to award the elephant stamp to Tambo, DSE messed up their sums. In their results table they say they checked 4890m of boundary track, but the 100% result only applied to 4399m – DSE just conveniently forgot the nasty 500 m of track now washing downhill into the local rivers.

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