True to her promise made in a recent parliamentary speech in Canberra, Janelle
Saffin, Member for Page, organised a meeting at Coaldale in the Clarence Valley
with a view to reconciling problems caused by widespread plantation development
on the North Coast. She invited all stakeholders; local farmers; conservationists;
representatives from the Environment Protection Agency and Department of Primary
Industry; the plantation owners, and timber industry representatives.
The plantation owner, Forest Enterprises Australia, cast aside its professed good
neighbour policy for the day, and declined to attend the meeting claiming it would be
'unproductive'. That's a term they must be familiar with given some 500 hectares of
plantation in the Coaldale area is reportedly about to be ploughed in and replanted
because of poor performance. This will not concern them greatly because they are
supported by one of those rare beasts, an understanding insurance company. It is
doubtful their investors will be as understanding when pay out time comes around.
True to form the industry reps from Timber Communities Australia (TCA) and the
CMFEU, after earlier accepting the invitation to attend the meeting, pulled out.
TCA's decision not to attend is hardly surprising seeing their members have little if
anything to gain from a wood-chip operation, with one leading timber miller
describing what is being planted as 'rubbish'.
This view is apparently shared by associated government agencies who have
nicknamed
Eucalyptus
dunnii,
the favoured
species being planted, -
Eucalyptus gunna-die.
The major issue on the
day was excessive aerial
spraying of pesticides
which have, on two
occasions at Coaldale,
drifted onto neighbouring
properties causing
sickness and distress
among residents, who
were advised to remove
downpipes from their
roofs to prevent pollution
of their drinking water.
Plantation Forestry
Janelle Saffin joins the fight.
An unlocked, una ttended rural shed with poisonous chemicals discovered
by playing children, a risk the plantation owners appear oblivious to.