This article appeared in a regional newspaper back in July.
Very few people would have read it. Even fewer people would have understood it or appreciated the wisdom (even if misinterpreted).
Vicforests is the State government forest agency in Victoria, Australia tasked with logging public native forests.
For the past 50+ years it has been the focus of increasingly bitter community opposition.
The article mostly expresses the opinions of Gary Featherston, a professional forester and apologist for public native forestry.
Mr Featherston wishes us to believe that public native forestry is “hamstrung” by its political masters.
But what Mr Featherston describes is nothing more than the chaos of politically driven public administration. Every day the objectives change according to the winds of politics. Every day the chaos increases!
The chaos of public administration is bad enough in areas like education and health. But when it comes to pseudo-commerce like public native forestry the chaos takes on a whole new meaning!
Up until the 1990’s forestry in Australia was a Government run welfare scheme. Native forest and plantations were managed to provide jobs in regional Australia.
Today only NSW and WA have Government owned plantations. Today most timber grown and sold in Australia is privately owned. Profit is the motive! As it should be!!
And yet industry and Government policy in Australia is still focused on subsidising sawmillers/wood processors; ie. Policy is still focused on welfare.
Vicforests is not “hamstrung” as Mr Featherston wants us to believe!
Vicforests (and public native forestry around Australia) is the very embodiment of 19th century ideology well past its useby date.
Vicforests can never be divorced from the chaos of politics.
Politics is the permanent enduring Achilles Heel of public native forestry.
The future of forestry is in profitable private forest managers and growers, and until Australia recognises that fact we will continue on this endless cycle of conflict, stupidity and waste.