Topic: nsw govt
We have been following the Redgum conservation campaign for some months now: Here are images from our story:
Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Now we look at the record of past forest decisions to get a grasp of what we can expect from the brown ALP in NSW
Picture explanation: What's in a map? This is a secret map the Carr Govt didn't mean to release back in 1999, quite tatttered now after various relocations by the SAM editor. It was obtained from a friendly NSW Resource and Conservation Assessment Council (RACAC) staffer in early 1999 who quickly sought it back but we refused. Viewed with an informed eye it reveals just how hyperbolic Carr's oft boasted 'big national park decisions' actually is.
The final maps publicly released for the Upper, Lower and Eden forest regions don't have this colour detail as above. In the public version they merge the new reserves with the old park reservations to make them look bigger (see for example Upper NE map immediately below).
Note in the map above carefully the purple/maroon area which shows the actual new national parks by Bob Carr in 1998-9. They are minimal compared to the light green logging areas effectively privatised for 20 years out of public land.
Don't be misled by the dark green areas above. These were parks created by other governments - decades and decades earlier in recognition of the 80 million hectare area of NSW majority cleared and degraded.
The question has to be asked "Did Carr release more forest for destruction (private logging areas out of public forest) than he saved (new national park)?" The answer must be yes. Current premier Nathan Rees has a very low standard to improve on the record of Bob Carr in his recent exhortations to save the redgum forests of the Murray Darling River.
Significantly Rees' current chief of staff GraemeWedderburn was also in that role for Bob Carr in 1998-99 and presumably in on the political deceit on the public interest back then.
Simon Santow ran some stories in the ABC radio news yesterday and on flagship World Today as here:
The story was spinning off the article about, and opinion piece by, ex NSW premier Bob "akimbo" Carr in the Sydney Morning Herald both front page and opinion piece column:
and front page here:
And the story is evolving already suggesting an ALP set piece choreography with advance notice to the ALP Govt of the SMH profile pieces:
Rees bows to pressure to stop logging 24 Jul 2009
It's sound politics for the NSW ALP no doubt given Verity Firth MP (ALP) is looking very shaky in her inner west seat of Balmain from so called 'blue' Green Mayor Jamie Parker: A description of Parker by News Corp's Imre Salusinszky, not understanding that Parker (marketing student and promoter of Horny Goatweed in your local ColesWorth supermarket) has always been an adoptee or at the least close ally of 'red Green' Lee Rhiannon MP since his Macquarie University student politician days.
(We well remember meeting Jamie in Rhiannon's parliamentary office foyer years ago and noting a precocious, impertinent, brash and talented individual. We decided to quit the party soon after.)
But News Corp know how to kick the ALP. As the Chinese say, everyone likes to push a falling wall.
Being such an accomplished spruiker Carr's Herald foray almost had this writer forgetting the ex premier's real record on forests in 1998 and 1999. How Carr protected:
'only 1/4 of the scientifically assessed areas deserving protection and under threat' according to Dailan Pugh of North East Forest Alliance (see Pugh's report of his below in late 1998).
Here is a sample of green NGO reactions we collected at the time knowing the historical accuracy and significance in the face of a tax payer funded PR machine:
Pugh was also recently quoted in the Australian Weekend colour magazine profile of current federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, then a policy adviser on forests to Carr Govt in NSW. He repeated the lowly 1/4 protection figure of true area demanded by the science in NSW. Wong then bailed out to become a South Australian senator, perhaps also knowing the truth would eventually come out in NSW about the forest fraud?
Indeed Carr has always been a dodgy and unreliable voice on the so callled 'programmatic specificity' of government policy. Not just integrity of forest conservation decisions. Famously he banned web archiving of his government press releases.
With a web archive people soon realise how maps of forests conflate publicly owned native forests into "Native forest and hardwood plantation" as per Upper North East publicly released RFA map (above): In other words conversion of public estate to agri industry corporate profit. All in a days work for the now Macquarie Bank consultant ex premier Bob Carr: He may well be a keen bushwalker but at some point like his political recruit Peter Garrett now minister at federal level he not only sold out the green agenda but started to believe his own bullsh*t too.
This is the first time these secretly obtained maps from the government's own RACAC have been (web) published. Also note RACAC itself is a rip off of the earlier Coaliton/Fahey Govt NRAC - Natural Resource Audit Council of 1993-4. This gives you the clue of the brown ALP agenda from the beginning.
The secret maps show, particularly via the maroon colour new conservation areas versus light green logging areas, Carr simply foreclosed on any future protections with 20 year logging guarantees. And he has the chutzpah to call that being green. Certainly his strategy harvested green votes via cunning tax payer funded advertising but it wasn't a real green policy outcome, and the maps and credible commentary prove it.
Let the reader judge just how hyperbolic those '300 new national parks I created ... no one could have done more' claims by Bob Carr on radio yesterday 24 July 2009 actually amount to. Such statistical games are only really of any sense taken in context of nationally and statewide only 20% forest landcover in 1788, down to 10% land cover now, with barely 1/10 of that which actually remains intact mature forest critical to wildlife. The highly mechanised logging and agricultural industries have been taken their toll.
Tragically Carr only manages to parade his 300 national parks by airbrushing from history the far greater area of forest he effectively privatised. That's just another reason why he was embraced by Macquarie Bank as a consultant within months of being forced from office under pressure of devastating polls in 2005.
Ironically now the caravan has moved to west of the Great Divide Carr's and the Sydney Morning Herald's postures on saving redgum forests are indeed valid and important. The two main NGO groups associated - The Wilderness Society and NSW National Parks Association - are quite justified in leveraging the exhortations of Carr as a loyal ALP public figure.
But those of us with longer experience and more probing analysis of green and national politics well understand Carr's posture has more to do with:
- Carr papering over his own dodgy environmental record, and perhaps desire for redemption at various times;
- the flurry of attacks this last week on federal brand ALP minister Peter Garrett and his shredded green credentials - recruited by Bob Carr in the first place after green group scathing repudiations of Carr in 1998-99;
- the electoral bleeding of inner west ALP MP's like Verity Firth, and also to some degree Carmel Tebbutt.
Now this writer has the web publishing capacity much of this pre google material can now by made accessible.
Here is the remainder of the maps available at that time, indicating the relatively minor additions by Carr in maroon colour, the much more extensive dedicated logging areas in light green with repeal of iconic environmental legislation, and below that the scathing reportage of Dailan Pugh in 1998-9, important as Pugh was embraced by the Carr Govt and a green NGO appointee on RACAC itself. Groups with far more democratic base like The Wilderness Society were simply frozen out. Note too how a scathing statement of Carr as "sell out" reference by Pugh below becomes a lesser rhetorical question in lobbying document to the NSW Teachers Federation.
Picture (above): Notably absent from the line up at this icon event was one Peter Garrett because it would involve criticising ALP premier Bob Carr
In conclusion, one can safely assume that the rate of native forest destruction in NSW, including high conservation value forest has not reduced at all since Bob Carr's 'big national parks decision of 1998-99. And the additions to his national parks since - for example 65,000 ha in the 2003 election campaign - do not alter the general position. Increased intensity of logging in State Forests, and on private land, has resulted in the destruction of millions of individual rare and endangered wildlife. When you deconstruct the spin current premier Nathan Rees could hardly do worse than Premier Bob Carr when it comes to ecologically sustainable logging policies or conservation as in the case of the redgum forests and may God have mercy on them now.
Famously politicians like Bob Carr in 1994 find it easy to be green in Opposition but can't be trusted. Notice similarly with these ALP politicians pre 2007 federal election namely Garrett and Albanese, later in lock step to support a Gunns plan for a massive pulp mill of Old Growth forests in Tasmania.
Nathan Rees though premier of NSW is in effect an ALP politician in Opposition posturing on green policy too, but the implementation will need extreme levels of scrutiny.