Otway Ranges Environment Network
Timber Communities Australia exposed
Timber Communities Australia is a Public Relations front group - Wednesday
30th October 2002
Otway Ranges Environment Network today accused the Timber Communities
Australian Ltd of being a public relations front group paid for by woodchip
companies. Documents received from the Australian Securities and Investment
Commission reveal that Timber Communities Australian Ltd is in fact a
company that has received at least $1.617 million dollars or 76% of their
funding from industry groups between June 1999 and July 2001.
The businesses that profit from woodchipping are putting a huge
investment towards the deception of the general community. The woodchip
industry is using Timber Communities Australian Ltd (TCA Ltd ) to create
the false impression inttgenine grass roots support for clearfell logging
and woodchipping in the Otways., aid Simon Birrell spokes person
for the Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN).
In the world of public relations, TCA Ltd is nothing more than
a astro-turf or fake grass roots organisation. No one ever
believes the woodchippers when they says clearfell logging is good for
the environment and the community. So instead, the woodchip companies
pay TCA Ltd close to a million dollars a year to spread this deceptive
message to the community.
OREN has obtained financial data that shows that in a two year
period the TCA's total income was $2,128,212 of which $1,617,752 or 76%
is listed as "industry contributions". Industry funds may well
account for more in some of the other incomes categories and we can safely
say that we believe over 76% of the TCA's income comes from industry groups.
We assume that this mainly comes from woodchipping companies.
On the other hand OREN gets all its funding through memberships
and sales of publications such as the OREN calendar. OREN does not receive
any government funding.
It is interesting to note that the Executive Director of both Timber
Communities Australian Ltd and the National Association of Forest Industries
is the same person. This connection shows the influence the peak woodchipping
lobby group has over the day to day activities of TCA Ltd.
Since TCA Ltd was set up in Colac, they have set out to deliberately
misrepresent the views of genuine community groups that are oppose to
clearfell logging. They have tried to build the perception that conservationists
are extremists and down play the impact of logging on native forests.
Some people feel that the presence of the TCA Ltd in the community
is a source of intimidation against genuine conservationists. An example
of this occurred when TCA Ltd organised a bus load of loggers to stack
out a council meeting in Apollo Bay in June this year.
We expect the level of misinformation from TCA Ltd to increase
as the state election campaign intensifies and logging season starts.
There are a few people making a lot of money from woodchipping publicly
owned forests. They have historically played a dirty tricks game and we
see no signs of them giving up yet.
Funding focus in timber fight
An Otway Ranges environment group has told an Otways timber organisation
it must disassociate itself from its national body to be considered a
genuine community organisation.
Otway Ranges Environment Network spokesperson Simon Birrell has accused
Timber Communities Australia of being a big-business funded public-relations
front group instead of a grassroots community organisation
In the world of public retaliations, TCA Ltd is nothing more than
an `astro-turf' or fake grass roots organisation, Mr Birrell said.
"No one ever believes the when they say clearfell logging is good
for the environment and the community," he said.
"So instead, the woodchip companies pay TCA Ltd close to a million
dollars year to spread this deceptive message to the community.
But TCA Otways branch president Peter Dynes said the branch was financed
solely by fundraisers and received nothing from the national branch.
"We don't get any money from the local mills or the national branch
or anything." Mr Dynes said.
We are in the true sense of the word a community organisation concerned
with the needs of the people in our community," he said.
Mr Birrell said the TCA Otway branch members should disassociate themselves
from the national group if they wanted credibility.
He can't escape the fact that Timber Communities Australia gets
this sort of funding from industry groups, he said
"If he was genuine about not being connected with the national group
then they should resign from the national group and change their name
to something else," he said.
Mr Dvnes said Mr Birrell's funding accusations where hypocritical because
OREN received money from Earthshare violating the group's funding "You
can be an environmental group and get money from Earthshare if you aren't
engaged in any direct confronting action," Mr Dynes said.
"Theyre quite happy to accept that money under false pretences
every time one of their members steps onto a site," he said. "If
they want to talk about fund ing, well, bring it on.
Mr Dynes said he had offered to meet OREN to work through issues confronting
loggers and environmentalists in the Otways, but his offer fell on deaf
"I realise we live in a Western society with freedom of speech and
freedom of thought and they're entitled to say what they want," Mr
"It's also a fundamental human right to be able to go to work free
of workplace harassment," he said.
"We want them to leave the workers alone and protest through the
Mr Birrell said OREN meeting with Timber Communities Australia would
give the timber industry credibility. "We won't meet with a public
relations group that's paid for by the industry, Birrell said.
It would just give credibility to their group, he said.