typing is not activism….

environ mentalism, fresh articles, interviews & checkitouts from Sydney.

from the frontlines in Tasmania

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Guest contributor Mike Bolan, a key mover in Tasmanians Against the Pulp Mill, has kindly sent in part 2 of his State We’re In series. It is an unfortunate truth that the power of Tasmanians to force change from within their state is limited by the many forces against which they now rail. The hope is that mainland Australians will see this matter for what it is and get involved however they see fit. Over to you Mike.

The State We’re In (2) by Mike Bolan

Schoolyard antics appear to have proceeded unchecked since my last article.

Forestry Tasmania has authorised its employees to attend a paid for attendance pro-pulp mill rally at public expense, even laying on buses for transport (again we get to pay). Presumably the results will demonstrate how many people you can get to turn up if you pay them to do so.

Paul Lennon has told the good burghers of Burnie that heavy industry is worth more than tourism, indicating his willingness to sacrifice tourism for a pulp mill (that must have given the tourism operators a rush).

Robin Gray has attempted to ‘heavy’ a Launceston alderman who voted against the mill after a public meeting asking aldermen to do just that.

The government has published a glossy campaign to convince us that the pulp mill supplier (Sweco Pic) and the consultancy charged with doing a ‘benefits’ study, are both ‘independent’, notwithstanding their highly restrictive briefing by the government. The glossy’s claims about the coverage of the reports are themselves false when compared to the instructions given to the consultancies (as per their reports). Taxpayer’s money was also used to promote the mill project to the public.

John Howard has told the tens of thousands of people concerned about a virtually unregulated pulp mill in their immediate area that they are just ‘a minority of extreme Greens’.

It has become increasingly clear that the various industry associations that are supposed to represent the needs of their industries are merely government cats paws, like the Launceston Chamber of Commerce who now support the CFMEU’s pro-pulp mill rally. Other affected industry groups all appear to be subservient to government wishes.

The tourism industry asked John Gay (why don’t they ask their governments??) to pay compensation in the event that the mill damages their businesses. He responded by proposing that they pay him the extra profits they’ll get from the pulp mill’s presence in the area. Hmmm.

Our politicians haven’t noticed the more than 10,000 people who turned out in Launceston to protest the mill and/or the grossly biased process used to ‘approve’ it. They haven’t noticed that agriculture (under threat from MIS funded plantation takeover of our best land), tourism and fisheries are all worth more than any pulp mill and could be seriously impacted by a mill that isn’t properly regulated or controlled.

Politicians haven’t studied the risks or costs at all, neither have they countenanced public comment in any way. In fact the state government moved with alacrity to shut down the RPDC process when public hearings looked imminent.

Because they have no idea of the risks and costs, the state government has no plan or regulatory regime to protect any business, person or community exposed to any risks – because they don’t know what they are (and clearly don’t want to know).

Our governments have totally abandoned any pretence of having a duty of care to the public or taxpayers, preferring to call doubters ‘Green’ which, apparently, means a person whose views don’t matter in any way.

Looking at that pattern of behaviour, surely we all need to wonder what’s next?

Tasmania is now a place where the views of the people don’t matter, where the public pays public servants to demonstrate for a project for a private company, where the government controls industry groups, where the public pays to market private company’s projects, where a company chairman threatens elected representatives.

Is this a place where business investment is secure?

Is it a place people will want to visit?

Is it a place where people will want to stay?

There’s another agenda running here, and one that is a lot bigger than just Tasmania. When a federal government is pretty relaxed about using tax monies to subvert our food production systems, when they describe logging as ‘the industry of the future’, and when their actions make no political sense whatsoever, we can be sure that there’s a different agenda being run by big players (corporations and governments) that is designed to work in their interests, if no one else’s.

Readers might like to figure out what’s up. I’ll present the emerging picture at a later date.

Meanwhile, good luck…and don’t forget to sign up to the petition demanding due process for Tasmanians at tapvision.info or catchment43.net. You’ll need to download it, print it, get it signed, and send it back snail mail.

It could be your last shot at this.


Written by typingisnotactivism

July 14, 2007 at 8:26 pm

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