South Sister St. Marys, Tasmania

South Sister Correspondence

letter to member for lyons

The Honourable Michael Polley MHA
Parliament House
4 January 2006

Dear Michael,


I attach for your attention copies of letters relating to forest operations at South Sister. I hope that you will be able to give these your personal attention, given their significance to residents of St Marys, Germantown and Dublin Town in terms of their economic future and the potential threat to their water supplies.

  1. 7 Nov 2005 - Ralph Rallings to Environmental Defenders Office
  2. 7 Nov 2005 - EDO to Forest Practices Authority
  3. 22 Dec 2005 - Clement to FPA
  4. 3 Jan 2006 - Clement to FPA
  5. 3 Jan 2006 - Clement to Hon Bryan Green MHA

In considering these letters you need to be aware that the withdrawal by members of Save Our Sisters of their application to RMPAT for an Order under the EMPCA arose from issues of the legal definition of environmental harm and nuisance in relation to scientific evidence.

While attention was focussed on the progress of this matter within an independent legal jurisdiction it was inappropriate to continue to pursue issues that had previously been raised with the (then) Forest Practices Board. When action before RMPAT ceased, these issues became active again, in particular matters relating to water, specifically the lack of scientific knowledge and evaluation of the groundwater system of the coupe and surrounding area, a matter of critical importance to all those who derive their water supply from the coupe area.

Reports for Forestry Tasmania by two scientists were central to the water issues of this coupe, reports referred to by Minister Green, and fundamental to certification of the forest practices plan. Letters 1-4 above are concerned with documented issues of veracity, failure of due diligence, false and misleading information, errors, contrivances, gross errors of fact, inaccuracies, omissions, lack of qualifications, failure of scientific method, selective evidence and speculation which mean that no reliance can be placed on any matter regarding water at South Sister upon which opinions have been expressed by the scientists concerned.

Letter 5 to the Minister addresses different issues, but they overlap insofar as the reports referred to in letters 1-4 were relied upon for certification of the Forest Practices Plan which the Minister is requested to weigh in the balance against the value of South Sister unlogged to the residents of St Marys and the surrounding area.

The FPA has not yet responded to the letter from EDO of 7th November. The issues raised in that letter, reinforced by matters referred to in the further letters of recent date, require a response: it would be unacceptable should forest operations proceed at South Sister while they remain unaddressed, and in such circumstances they would be placed on the public record.

The standing room only at the Public Meeting at St Marys on 15th December 2004 and the motions passed unanimously requesting protection of water supplies and creation of a Forest Reserve at South Sister indicate the level and direction of local concern about this issue, which has continued unabated since the original Notice of Intent was received in October 2003. Your help as a local member to ensure that local concerns are fully considered would be much appreciated. If you were able to consider the enclosed letters, and discuss the matters raised with the Minister, it may be that your long and close association with the area could throw light on issues involved that have not been drawn out to date.

I look forward to your response and advice.

Yours sincerely


No response for days

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