South Sister St. Marys, Tasmania

'Sistergate' Correspondence

lack of qualification by fpa scientists

The Hon Michael Polley MHA
Parliament House
16th January 2006

Dear Michael,


I refer to my letter of 4th January regarding the above. I have since received advice of yet another complaint made to the Forest Practices Authority regarding the qualifications, independence, experience and judgement of the Senior Scientist, Soil and Water, of the Forest Practices Authority, and the lack of qualification by the Hydrologist of Forestry Tasmania to address the issues required to be assessed to prepare the Forest Practices Plan for the above coupe.

The complaint was made by Dr D E Leaman. As he has received no acknowledgement from the FPA of his letter, he has authorised me to provide you with a copy, to further substantiate the issues I have raised with you. Without limiting the totality of Dr Leaman's letter, I highlight for your attention one particular point, relevant to previous requests made to the Forest Practices Board for revocation of the Plan because of defective planning, that Dr McIntosh 'should never have been placed in a position where he was called upon to approve his own work'.

The issue running through the whole South Sister matter since the first meeting with Forestry Tasmania in 2003 has been water! Without water there can be no human settlement, and the residents of South Sister and the residents of St Marys derive their water from springs and bores. These water supplies have been placed at risk by the lack of qualification, incompetence, errors, lack of scientific method, failure of due diligence, selective evidence, speculation and special pleading by the two people whose knowledge and expertise was relied upon by Forestry Tasmania and the Forest Practices Board, and referred to by the Minister, as being critical to certification of the Forest Practices Plan for South Sister.

I ask that, as Member for Lyons, having regard for the potential adverse impact on local water supplies from forest operations at South Sister, and the lack of relevant, qualified and independent scientific assessment of this threat prior to certification of the FPP, you refer this matter to your colleague the Minister for Forests, as a matter of urgency, to determine his views.

I look forward to your response, and to your advice of the Minister's views.

Yours sincerely,


No response for days

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