A couple of weeks ago I launched an excellent book, GOING ‘GREEN’ Forests, fire and a flawed conservation culture by Mark Poynter.
I recalled that in earlier years there was a body that grandly called itself the Competent Authority. It was in fact just a bunch of bureaucrats who acted as a retarder to the vehement calls of the green left for preservation of forest on one justification after another – protecting some rare critters, protecting any critters, promoting tourism, stopping erosion of river banks and so on.
So, as Mark Poynter notes, in Victoria we have gone from a situation where it was down to only 31 per cent of the state forest available to wood harvesting by 1986 and is now down to 6 per cent and the industry is destroyed. Other nations have managed to keep highly productive industries – Finland has over 90 per cent of its natural forests open for harvesting.
At least in the 1980s Australia had a forestry departments that understood the dangers as well as the benefits of forestry. Burn-offs were recognised as vital to stop the very hot fires that are the result of non-management in Victoria as is also the case in California and other places where the forestry department is fused and taken over by the environmental activists.
Global myths are all part of the agitprop – the Amazon will be totally cleared in 48 days if one of the factoid’s that WWF devised were to be true. These agitators are reinforced and amplified by taxpayer funded activists within the Universities –and Mark makes special mention of those at the ANU including David Lindenmeyer, graced, as are so many radicals, with an AO. Another one, also within the Australian peerage, is travel entrepreneur Graeme Wood who funded much of the anti-logging activity and is very quick to hit those questioning the truth of his assertions with threats of lawsuits. Sometimes the exit of productive activities was facilitated by compensation – the ALP under Tony Burke gave $100 million to Tasmania to replace forests with tourism. With that bait and unaccustomed to facing hostility, the various forest industries were more often than not compliant in their own demise.
As is frequently the case, the radicals’ agenda was set small and built upon. First they came for preservation to save a particular area or in the case of Leadbeater’s Possum, a supposedly endangered species, then they shifted to oppose the harvesting of naturally grown wood products. Then they came for all wood products. Gunns in Tasmania was destroyed even though it was proposing to use only plantation timber, which earlier onslaughts had forced it to invest in.
They attacked by vilifying corporate names – and that has become far more successful since with banks and energy businesses running away from fossil fuels to preserve their brand images. “Social licence” became a new ingredient, one that trumps almost everything else businesses do.
The destruction of the nation’s forest industry is just one of so many theatres where Australia is depriving itself of valuable income. As with fishing, with forestry, Australia probably has the greatest per capita natural resource in the world and yet is a net importer.
Access to natural resources: land for farming, forestry, recreation, mining, housing is a key stranglehold used by those who seek to harness political muscle to create a different sort of Australia than one providing the prosperity most people want.
For the most part the silent majority simply accepts the restraints and income diminution resulting from politicians responding to the activists’ pressures for more regulations.
One set of people fighting back are the Bush User Groups United who are holding a Rally in Melbourne CBD on the Steps of Parliament House. 1pm Wednesday August 8th to draw attention to the myriad incursions of governments in preventing the use of public land and waters.