Reflecting on our ‘engagement’ with Vicforests over the last couple of years, a pattern emerges where things just don’t add up – repeatedly. It’s only by looking at the detail and compiling a list such as this (and this is the tip of an iceberg), that one realizes that the public (the actual owner of the land and the resource!) is seen, not as a legitimate stakeholder, but as an obstacle, to be sidelined, dismissed, or won over. Those institutions responsible for managing this ‘public land’ on behalf of the actual public, are selling us all down the river and further eroding confidence in public institutions and politics. We hope, by documenting our experience, it will be useful to other communities facing similar challenges. Here are some examples.
In late 2016 Vicforests gave this commitment to DELWP and the Environment Minister’s Office, but by June 2017, they had abandoned this intention. The statement was made at the time Parlour’s Creek coupe (home to Powerful Owls, Greater Gliders and Koalas) was being logged. There was considerable concern about this logging from the local community, environment groups, scientists and the Environment Minister’s own Scientific Advisory Committee. The timing of the Vicforests commitment suggests its purpose was to deflect criticism of the logging. More details here – link.
Lesson: When you’re in a tight spot, just say what people want to hear, to get the monkey off your back. If you get caught out, just say you were misunderstood, misquoted, or that circumstances have changed.