South Sister St. Marys, Tasmania

'Sistergate' Correspondence

response to 'joint letter'

Isobel Stanley
Forest Practices Authority
30 Patrick Street
13th January 2006

Dear Ms Stanley,


I refer to your circular of 3rd January, received today on 13th January.

Over 40 years of professional life, I have never before received a joint reply, involving other people's correspondence. Such a response is more properly restricted to communal emails to associates at Christmas! Dr Daily and I may share similar views on this matter and are both members of the local resident group SOS, but I have no knowledge of her recent correspondence with you, nor of its contents. Indeed, I have not seen or talked to Dr Daily for some 3 months. I object most strongly to your joint reply, indicating the contempt with which you apparently view me as an individual, and your lack of willingness to respond to the particular matters I have raised with you. Professional etiquette and basic courtesy requires an individual reply.

Given the date of your communication, it cannot be addressing my further letter of 3rd January, providing further documented evidence of errors, contradictions and false and misleading statements. I would appreciate your acknowledgement and reply to the issues raised therein, and in view of the seriousness of the issues and the time that has elapsed since my letter, an early reply would appear appropriate.

The essential point of your response of 3rd January appears to be 'The lack of agreement between specialists in this case does not provide a reasonable basis for refusal of the Forest Practices Plan or for further review.'

The issues raised with you are not about 'disagreements between specialists', they are about documented evidence of lack of qualification, false and misleading statements, gross errors, incompetence, failure of due diligence, contradictions, failure to follow scientific method, selective use of evidence and reliance on speculation by the two scientists whose opinions and reports were relied upon for certification of the Plan.

The reports of Dr Roberts and Dr McIntosh were those relied upon by the District Forest Manager, Forestry Tasmania, Mr Steve Manson (letter attached 8/12/04), the certifying Forest Practices Officer, Mr P W Johnstone (Statement of Reasons Judicial Review Act 24/2/05 attached), the Chief Forest Practices Officer, Mr Wilkinson (email 22/12/05 attached), and referred to by the Minister, Mr B Green (letter to Salter 1/2/05 attached).

In view of the documented evidence provided in respect of Dr Roberts and Dr McIntosh, no reliance can be placed on any matter regarding water at South Sister upon which they have expressed opinions


Section 24A of the Forest Practices Act gives power to the Authority to revoke a plan for whatever reason it considers sufficient - it has not delegated this power to the Chief Forest Practices Officer. You advised that the Board of the Authority considered advice from the Chief Forest Practices Officer. It is not possible to reconcile the response you have provided with any advice that could been given relating to the issues I have raised, as your response is totally irrelevant to these issues, and fails to refer to them in any way. I believe the popular description of the response prepared for you to submit to me is 'weasel words'

The concern with the lack of qualification and competence of Dr McIntosh has been a continuing issue in this matter, from October 2003. Subsequently, similar complaints have been made regarding Dr Roberts. These concerns have been expressed repeatedly to Mr Wilkinson, but his response has been to answer them by reference to Dr McIntosh himself. It is entirely inappropriate that Dr McIntosh should have been the sole arbiter of his own competence, and that Mr Wilkinson has simply required him to approve his own work as a Board response, without seeking independent, external review. It should also be asked whether the varied requests to the Board between January 2005-March 2005 for revocation of the Plan were placed on the agenda for Board consideration, or whether they were all dealt with administratively by Mr Wilkinson.

Mr Wilkinson has previously not responded to specific and evidenced allegations of failure of due diligence and lack of qualification of Drs McIntosh and Roberts (letter 20/02/05 attached). This particular letter also raised issues of Mr Wilkinson's own qualifications (in that he clearly holds himself out as qualified to give opinion on matters of hydrology). His failure to respond suggests that he failed to draw to the attention of the Board evidenced claims regarding fundamental defects in the qualifications and diligence of personnel relied upon to provide appropriate information to certify the FPP for the Coupe. Mr Wilkinson has not acted objectively or professionally in dealing with the issues raised in this letter or in other related representations.


Your response has totally failed to address the issues raised in my letter of 22nd December 2005, and you have not so far responded to my letter of 3rd January, 2006. The issues raised regarding Dr McIntosh, Dr Roberts, Mr Rosevears and Mr Wilkinson are not matters related to lack of agreement between specialists, but relate to competence, diligence and probity, and procedure, and are so fundamental to the planning of Coupe NI114A that they must be responded to directly, professionally, and objectively. Otherwise the publicity regarding the new dawn of independence in the forest practices system as a result of the appointment of the Authority will be seen by the public as nothing but froth and bubble, and there must be substantial doubt as to the professional standing off the Authority. I look forward to acknowledgement and response to my letter of 3rd January 2006, and to the matters I have raised above


No response for days

Default Colours Less Contrast More contrast

5626 (1, 4, 4, 144)