South Sister St. Marys, Tasmania

South Sister Correspondence

email to chair, fpa

From: Frances Daily
To: Ms. Isobel Stanley
Sent: Monday, 16 January 2006
[email addresses redacted]

Dear Ms Stanley

Invitation to South Sister

I am absolutely astonished by your reply to myself and David Clement which was received last Friday January 13, 2006.

I consider it extremely unprofessional that three letters I addressed to you could be answered by a joint letter to myself and David Clement!
Is the general public's legitimate concerns about landslide risk and water supply so unimportant to you as Chair of the FPA that you can write a quick reply to two persons who you believe to be working together on the matter?
It is absolutely unthinkable to me that I should be included in a joint letter. It has never occurred before and I trust it will never happen again.

Many of the issues which I raised in my letters were ignored.
You state in your letter that 'allegations relating to deficiencies within the administration of the forest practices system are treated very seriously by the Board'. I find this extremely hard to believe!
Dr McIntosh and Mr Weldon's report of September 27, 2005 shows gross inaccuracies which have been pointed out by Mr Rallings, Environmental Defender's Office and myself yet it has been ignored.

'..... part of this responsibility ...... to be satisfied that decisions of the FPA are made with appropriate due diligence and natural justice'
Where is the diligence in:

If you are satisfied that FPA make decisions with appropriate due diligence being aware of the above then the minimal standard is set awfully low!

You say that '...... the Board has considered advice from the Chief Forest Practices Officer ...... The FPA is obliged to properly consider all evidence and to exercise its judgement to the best of its capacity'.

Is the Chief Forest Practices Officer qualified to give advice on such specialised matters? Is he aware of Zone E, Zone S, Slides A and B in detail? Is he aware of the gross inaccuracies in the report of McIntosh/Weldon? Has he visited the site to determine whether Ralph Rallings is indeed correct?
Are the FT experts qualified to give advice on such specialised matters or should they be deferring to others who are 'more specialised'?
One cannot be an expert in everything - we can only be an expert in a few things and we should therefore defer to others who have more knowledge, qualifications and expertise.

If the 'capacity' of the FPA experts is less than what is required, then FPA should be seeking expertise external to their ranks e.g. Geotechnical consultants and Engineers with experience in landslides, Mineral Resources Tasmania, persons suitably qualified in geo-hydrology etc.
If you came to me as a medical practitioner with a medical problem which I was not specialised in, you would expect I refer you to someone more qualified and experienced would you not? For me not to refer you when you required additional advice and expertise would be negligent on my part.
Why should it be different for areas which are in our back yard and which will affect us greatly either through our water supply, our recreation area (which also services tourists) etc?

You mention that '... the weight of evidence in this case does not justify such work being specifically carried out ... as a pre-condition for the selective logging....' You also say that you are '... satisfied that the level of risk posed by the proposed operations ... is negligible'.

Again, I find it astonishing that FPA has not sought additional advice from outside FPA.
Have you or the Chief Forest Practices Officer ever visited the coupe?
Have you ever considered seeing for yourself the area Ralph Rallings mentions in his report ('road batter collapse')?
Has anyone ever considered discussing Ralph's concerns with him? He is not just recently out of university but someone who is highly qualified and experienced in landslides - within Tasmania (20+ years), mainland Australia and internationally!!

How can FPA be so smug as to assume that their experts are always correct, that '... the level of risk ... is negligible? Negligible to whom? FPA and FT or to those who have to manage when their water supply may be obliterated by a landslide?
FT's experts are only human - they are not expert at everything!

You make mention of the withdrawal of applicants from RMPAT '... after a very substantial amount of work had been done by the FPA and others ...'
The reason for withdrawal was that we did not meet the threshold for the act, not that our concerns were invalid. Our concerns always have been valid and will remain so. If members of the community are unable to question government authorities through the democratic system then the situation in Tasmania is indeed grave.

You conclude with 'I believe that decision (sic) made by the FPA has been based on sound technical advice...'
I would again question the technical advice provided to FPA and would like to invite you and Mr Wilkinson to the said coupe so you can see for yourself the contentious areas Ralph Rallings refers to in his review paper.

I am unsure of what you mean regarding '... extensive buffers ...' We have asked repeatedly for exclusion of the north eastern area (known as 'Zone E' and the southern area (Zone S) to no avail. The areas that have been excluded from the coupe (steep slopes, areas of Eucalyptus brookeriana, wildlife habitat clumps) have been excluded due to regulations in the Forest Practices Code or Regional Forest Agreement. Other than the recent exclusion of areas over Cardiff mine, our requests to have parts of the coupe excluded have been ignored.

I again call on you to organise a meeting between experts and Save our Sisters members so you can familiarise yourself with both sides of the story and then organise an independent review of the entire coupe.

Failure to do so will further indicate that FPA and the board are not an independent watchdog but a legitimising agency for FT's ongoing destruction of Tasmania's environment.

I look forward to a (personal) reply.

Yours sincerely (and in hope for justice)

Dr Frances Daily

No response for days

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