Tiwi Islands Landclearing Inquiry Report Flawed

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30th October 2009, 10:56am - Views: 603

media release

People Feature The Wilderness Society Inc / Environment Centre NT 2 image

People Feature The Wilderness Society Inc / Environment Centre NT 3 image



30 October 2009

Tiwi Logging Inquiry Fails to Flush out Finances

A Senate Inquiry into logging, land clearing and mining on the Tiwi Islands has


investigated the propriety of complex financial arrangements surrounding the clearing

of 30,000 hectares of valuable native forest, despite being specifically required to do


The Senate Committee’s Majority Report, released yesterday, also fails to address a

key aspect of the Tiwi land clearing and plantation debacle


the huge damage

caused to the unique Tiwi natural environment. 

“An opaque corporate web surrounds this failed plantation venture”, said Wilderness

Society spokesperson Ms Amelia Young.

“The Senate Inquiry has failed to properly ascertain whether the contracts relating to

the land-clearing, the shipping and sale of valuable native forest timbers and rent of

Tiwi land by failed MIS-giant Great Southern are all above-board.

This is in the

context of valuable native timbers being sold at a loss on the  world market.” 

Earlier this month, Great Southern investors were told by the company’s receivers

that ‘The Tiwi Island operations are commercially unviable’. 

“With receivers advising that the Tiwi plantations are commercially unviable, it’s little

wonder no other woodchip company

wanted to buy the Tiwi venture. Now,



Owners are left with 30,000 hectares

of potential weeds, no venture

partner, and an unfavorable verdict from the administrators”, said Ms Young.

“With the collapse of Great Southern, Tiwi Island Traditional Owners are now going

cap in hand to the Commonwealth and Territory Governments seeking over one

hundred million dollars to prop up a woodchip venture that is proven to be without a

bright future”, said Dr Stuart Blanch, Co-ordinator of the Environment Centre NT.

“We seek to support Tiwi to develop an economic future for their people and Country

that creates jobs and support community development based on maintaining and

restoring their natural and cultural values”, added Dr Blanch.

The Senate Inquiry neglected to fully exercise its powers in relation to properly

investigating the social and economic opportunities foregone in the pursuit of the

woodchip plantation.

“In a carbon constrained world, restoring the existing plantations to multi-species

native forest for climate and biodiversity gains presents the best outcomes for Tiwi

people in terms of restoring the natural environment and creating ongoing

employment. Did the Inquiry hear enough about these opportunities?”


Media Enquiries: 

Amelia Young The Wilderness Society Inc, 0404 074 577

Dr Stuart Blanch Environment Centre NT, 0448 887 303

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