Ex-ACF head becomes woodchpper representitive

First it was Phillip Toynecoat (Toyne) and now Trisha Does-it-pay-as-well (Caswell) .

She was arrested in the Tarkine in March 1995 along with Christine Milne and Bob Brown. ACF’s then Director, Tricia Caswell, was campaigning for an end to woodchipping. Now she’s CEO of the Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI), the body representing the state’s loggers and woodchippers. She has in the past also worked for the Trade Unions, RMIT, BHP Billiton, WMC, the Minerals Council of Australia, developers Lend Lease and the plastics and chemicals industry.

So what’s going on?

Is she just an expensive piece of window dressing or is she planning to transfer the industry into plantations? Being paid by the industry she will no doubt have to march to their tune.

Philip Toyne was also an ex-ACF head and is now working as a consultant for the Victorian logging industry trying to wrangle certification for ‘nice’ native forest logging (so far we have no indication this will prohibit clearfelling or logging heritage forests). We hear he was instrumental in getting Trish into this position.

In an interview with The Age (7.4.04) she said it was time to think about “solutions to seemingly intractable problems, such as old growth logging and the green push to shift all native forest logging into plantations.”

Is that right? Did Caswell describes logging tree crops instead of native forests as an “intractable problem”?

This is what I suspect .

The logging industry is worried they have few arguments left for not shifting into the vast areas of plantations that are mature and ready to cut right now. Philip Toyne is working for Neville Smith Timber Industries (NST) at Heyfield who have been involved in the cynical EcoSelect ads as well as trying to cajole green groups to agree to certification of their logging. Certification of logging native forests is an extremely dangerous suggestion to go near. NST also have close links with the ALP and Bracks’ latest Forests Bill is tailored to benefit large mills such as NST.

Might we be seeing a new move by the ALP and the industry to give up the scraps of remaining old growth in exchange for ‘green label clearfelling’? . It won’t be a huge hardship – after all, for the past 30 years they have converted thousands of hectares of once-was old forests on public land to ‘regrowth’ or single aged, single species plantations ready to feed the logging industry again. And if they define old growth as narrowly as it is now, there’s not much to lose really. It’d be a great pre-election stunt and a very cheap trade-off.

Certification of native forests could mean anything from business as usual under the RFA, to business as usual with bio-diesel fuelled chainsaws. Let’s wait and see what VAFI and Trish come up with next.

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