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Friday analysis: EPA and Bob Brown Foundation both interfering with work

In what can only be good news, timber harvesting is resuming on the South Coast of New South Wales and Eden. The news will come as a relief to the mills that have run out of logs to process and were close to laying off workers and closing. Source: Bruce Mitchell

The news will also come as a relief to the towns and businesses that rely on the timber industry.

It will also possibly help alleviate the shortage of timber the building industry is faced with due to the Government-funded boom in the building industry.

And in a show of force which some might say is long overdue, Forestry Corp decided to “bypass” the Environment Protection Authority and get things moving.

After 15 months of negotiations with the EPA on site-specific operating conditions for each harvesting operation in bushfire-affected coastal forests on a case-by-case basis, Forestry Corp decided things were going far too slowly.

Given the imminent closure of the timber industry on the South Coast and Eden and the loss of jobs in local communities Forestry Corp seems to have decided enough was enough.

It decided to resume renewable timber harvesting and obey all relevant rules and regulations already in place.

And then it decided to add a few of its own.

It would be all too easy to accuse the EPA of using “green” tape to slow down and even halt native timber harvesting in New South Wales.

However, to bog down negotiations over harvesting on a case-by-case basis for 15 months does possibly show the EPA’s hand.

Of course, vigorous inactivity by a government agency is nothing new.

WorkSafe Tasmania seems to be sitting on its hands over protest action by the Bob Brown Foundation.

Anyone who has worked in a forestry operation will know the potential for serious accident is always there and requires constant attention.

Throw into that a mix a handful of protestors who know nothing of the real dangers, and it is a wonder someone hasn’t been hurt, or worse.

Try walking onto a large building site without a hardhat or hi-vis vest, and then begin interfering with the machinery in use. The appropriate authorities would be all over the case.

Then, do it again a week later. And again, a week after that. And so on.

There is little doubt the appropriate authority would take a dim view of those actions.

In Tasmania, that is exactly what the Bob Brown Foundation – regarded as a business under the Work, Health and Safety Act – has been doing.

The Forest & Wood Communities Australia has now lodged two Incident Notification with WorkSafe Tasmania and so far, nothing has happened.


Sadly, it is going to take someone being hurt for something to be done, and nobody wants to see people getting injured, or worse.