Kate Carnell, the former ACT chief minister, says Greens Senator Bob Brown has misled parliament.

In yesterday’s attack in the Senate on the Tasmanian forest industry and all its businesses, workers and representatives, Greens Senator Bob Brown 

misled Parliament on several points. (1:15pm, Wed 11th)

Mislead No. 1. Brown claimed that the woodchips exported from Tasmania are “largely” from old-growth forests. This is false – and Senator Brown knows it.

Well over half of Tasmania’s pulpwood (“woodchips”) comes from plantation resources (mostly privately owned), and of the remainder most pulpwood comes from non-old-growth forests. Even the State-owned native forest manager – Forestry Tasmania – says that only 10-20% of its sales for woodchips come from the by-products of the old-growth timber harvest.

Note that this is exactly the same ‘mislead’ that was the basis of the ’green push-polling’ scandal that broke in Tasmania two weeks ago.

Mislead No. 2 – Brown claims that Timber Communities Australia is a “front organisation” for the industry. I understand that TCA claims about 70 branches and many thousands of members across Australia – more than the Greens Party! There is no doubt that they are a genuine, large scale grassroots community organisation.

Mislead No. 3 – Brown claims that my organisation (NAFI) and TCA share a 

“common executive director” – namely, me! I am the Executive Director of 

the National Association of Forest Industries. Mrs Jill Lewis is the National Director of TCA. Bob Brown knows these facts, which clearly means he has deliberately misled the Senate.

Mislead No. 4 – Brown claims that Timber Communities Australia is the ”brainchild” of NAFI. TCA (then called the Forest Protection Society) was established in 1987. NAFI was not established until 1989.

Mislead No. 5 – Brown alleges “bullying” by TCA. Brown cites a story from last year where TCA Tasmania’s Barry Chipman complained to the BBC about a one-sided report on Tasmanian forestry. It was Chipman’s job to do so. In Britain an independent tribunal upheld much of Chipman’s complaints and ordered an apology. This is not “bullying”, but the right of ordinary people to seek justice and correction. This story was widely reported in the Hobart Mercury. 

Mislead No. 6 – Brown claims that Tasmania’s forests are being destroyed at “the greatest rate in history”. In fact the harvest in forests of ”old-growth” age has fallen to be now just over 1,000 hectares a year.

This area of forest is not harvested for pulpwood, but rather for high-quality sawlogs. The harvest area is fully regenerated.

Tasmania has 3.1 million hectares of forest cover (45% of the landmass), 1.2 million of which is at old-growth age. 0.850 million hectares is in reserves. The annual harvest is only 0.001 million hectares. These facts speak for themselves.

It is an established fact that Tasmania’s forest coverage is actually growing.

Kate Carnell
Crikey subscriber (and Executive Director, National Association of Forest Industries)