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Tasmanian Blackwood Growers

Forestry talks: no one wants to be first to walk

This article in The Australian newspaper today paints a bleak picture for an IGA agreement being successfully negotiated.

It seems after two years of negotiations the parties just can’t get there; and no IGA = no blackwood growers cooperative.

My advice would be to call in a professional facilitator. When everyone around the table has an agenda it is difficult for new ideas and new approaches to be heard. That is where a professional facilitator comes in very handy. They are experts at freeing up discussion and challenging fixed positions, which is exactly what the IGA parties need.

More than likely after 2 years they are all physically and mentally exhausted, and absolutely dread the idea of more discussions. That’s how they looked on the TV the other night – like zombies. It is time for a radical change of approach. Hop on a bus guys and take a field trip – go and walk in the forests together and go visit a sawmill. Go and visit Lifestyle Furniture in Salamanca and talk to the owner. Then you might get some new ideas.

I tend to agree with Jonathon West who predicted that the failure to reach an agreement would see both the destruction of the remaining old-growth forests AND the destruction of what remains of the forest industry. And the damage and division inflicted upon the Tasmanian community would have no resolution. The anger will linger for decades and likely be transferred to a new context.

As Tasmanians we need to demonstrate some maturity and ability to resolve our own problems. Otherwise our future will look very bleak indeed.

Coop Update:

I continue to get 2-3 enquiries per week from farmers and landowners interested in being part of a blackwood growers cooperative. This is very encouraging. I only wish some of this positive energy and enthusiasm for the future could be transferred to the IGA members.




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