South Sister St. Marys, Tasmania

South Sister Cover Up

"sistergate"

MEDIA STATEMENT: 20 January 2006

False and Misleading Evidence

Chair of the Forest Practices Authority, Isobel Stanley, has been asked to provide a Statement of Reasons under the provisions of the Judicial Review Act as to why she has ignored detailed and documented evidence obtained from FOI documents and internal reports that scientists of Forestry Tasmania and the Forest Practices Authority were unqualified to provide evidence required to certify the Forest Practices Plan for South Sister, that their reports were based on guesswork, were lacking in scientific method, that the scientists failed in due diligence to obtain the necessary factual information to provide an informed opinion, that they were selective in the opinions they presented, that there were gross errors of fact in their reports, that they refused to accept expert professional advice, and that their conclusions were based on contrivances and were unsubstantiated and unfounded.

In emails obtained under FOI legislation a Forestry Tasmania scientist required to investigate the groundwater system of South Sister to assess whether forest operations could damage the town water supply of St Marys replied
'Aaaaaggghhhh! I will see what I can do. I never pretended to be a hydrogeologist'.
In her final report she then stated
'the best we can do is speculate'
as well as admitting that
'without more detailed information it is difficult for FT to assess these beliefs'.
When advised by Mineral Resources Tasmania as to the best way to identify groundwater impacts, she responded to the advice by stating that it
'was a bit of a ridiculous expectation, given that the results of the study would only be applicable to the locality of the study. I think this means some sort of estimate is probably our best approach'

The FPA Scientist who reviewed her work for certification of the plan is not qualified in hydrology, was so confused that he quoted 3 separate figures for the area of the water catchment, two different figures for the area of the logging coupe, and stated in one place that the coupe was 0.1% of the catchment, in another place it was 4%, while his calculations showed it could be 7.4%.

His report stated in relation to 6 factors he claimed were relevant that
'the effect of these factors is impossible to quantify, given the present state of knowledge, it is pointless trying to model exact effects of harvest on the bore supply'
yet concluded that the claim that logging on South Sister could affect the water supply
'had no scientific justification'.

The same scientist is the subject of complaints to the FPA by other independent scientists and experts that he has made false and misleading statements in matters relating to South Sister.

The water supplies of South Sister and St Marys are too important to be put at risk by hacks and administrators trying to cover up their own failures. Isobel Stanley should openly and honestly address the issues raised with her over the past 12 weeks, or should resign and take the whole Board of the FPA with her.

D W Clement
Save Our Sisters

Read the 'Sistergate' correspondence

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