Wombat Community Forest Assembly meeting today

Submitted: Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 16:41
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The meeting called for the 1st May 2004 of the Wombat Forest Assembly was billed as a do or die effort to preserve access to all users of the forest from picnickers timber workers to green groups and four wheel drive enthusiasts who would all like access to the forest for their purposes.

The state government set up a consultative process last year and it began very quietly with a small group of interested people with more than a green tinge seeming to get control. The Interim Stewardship Council called the meeting today and allowed for interested people to the number of approximately 200 to attend the largest inside facility in Daylesford at the Secondary College. The college seats adequately 500 people but the interested crowd of approaching 1300 people made a nightmare of any facility provided. State laws and sensibility mad a maximum in the hall of 650 and many tried to crowd exits and all surrounding areas. Best voting intentions were abandoned after registrations past 1000 allowed for with the coloured voting slips!

The independent chairman of the meeting laid down the requirements of the meeting and eventually the crowd decided to meet in the quadrangle outside where a PA system had to be set up. There were just a couple of speakers and a lot of too-ing and fro-ing by the organisers in regard to the organization of the meeting before that happened however.

Outside it was discovered that an inadequate PA system combined with low levels of microphone skill quickly killed off any productivity at that sector of the meeting. Usage of UHF radios was not effective and many of the crowd found them a distraction too where battery life and transmit capacity of hand held units quickly added to the problem. A speaker from NSW community forest management was there too but my comment above in regard to microphone skills and the lack of a good program denies you and me knowledge of who she was.

After some consternation it was decided that all who had registered prior to the start of the meeting would be sent postal ballot information and the votes would be taken on the return of the ballot

It was particularly interesting the number of people that had travelled from as far as the La Trobe Valley and South Western Victoria with 4by groups showing major interest.

Some may see the day being unworkable being a positive outcome, but the day could be seen as a bit of a milestone in the requirement for better consultative process by the state government following the inadequacies of the previous one.

I would welcome the impressions of Forumites who may have been there as well. I know GOB and Joe from Geelong were, just two I spoke to. GOB you may like to elaborate on the loud voice from someone near you on their mobile phone. Good on you mate!

I will post information as to the motions as they are sent when they arrive. Some of the interested groups distributed agendas that mentioned a start time of 1.30and a 1 pm registration joining the feel of fiasco. Ballarat weather held off most of the best of the time but sleet greeted us as we were heading home. The best day for a long time for the Daylesford School Canteen..

Attendees were given yellow sheets to offer suggestions on:
“Our Vision for Community Management of the Wombat Forest”
“Respect for our Inheritance”
“Our Long Term Goals for the Forest”
“Management Objectives”
“Guiding Principles for Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management”
With each of the suggestions there were suggestions as to removal and substitution of differing objectives.

Channel 7 arrived after the meeting was aborted and queues were heading home or off to the sausages and onions
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John

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Reply By: Member - Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 16:57

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 16:57
John, you made it home in good time...thanks for keeping me informed during the day, sorry that due to family constraints and work we couldn't make it..

cheers

Lyn
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 17:06

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 17:06
Lyn, just realised you had the local interest at heart as well as on here. We realise Al had to work just as you did in a different area.

Heather drove home as I composed or perhaps decomposed on the laptop. Think she though the chainsaw was going through the forest.....
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Follow Up By: Member - Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 18:07

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 18:07
John, just saw the back of your car - with the EO wheel cover on the news...
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 18:11

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 18:11
Sounds like they want to take us all back there again to see who they can cram out of the hall next month. Wonder which government committee they want to be the "right" one?
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Reply By: GOB & denny vic member - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 17:29

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 17:29
goodday john
sorry i missed you and heather as we left iwent in to get a pie and lost you in the crowd i will watch 7 news tonight to see if they have a report also win cameraman was there
asto the mobile phones well???????? very off putting even the portablew uhf even though a good idea at the time were a bit of a pain especially the dill who asked "which way do vote on this micheal " (vafwdc president on podium) as there were people talking on them while others tried to listen .as a turnout of 4x4si think it was a success but as someone on the radio said as i was travelling home next time will have to be as good or better as the greenies now know what they are up against .as for business starting at 1.30 what a joke by then had things gone to plan at least 2 maybe 3 motions would have been voted on and registraion should have finished at 10.30 and no later than 11.30 as the meeting should have been well under way jmho

"is it better to work on the laptop so that you dont notice the trip home " sorry heather lol

steve
ps good to meet joe from geelong also
we talked about getting the explore oz caps so that we can recognise one another at these funtions
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 17:47

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 17:47
Steve, the referenece to the mobile phone was when you said the guy behind you in your parked spot was reporting to someone that the 4by community had over-reacted and had over run the meeting. I reckon that would be hard to believe. ;-)

Yes, about those caps and/or cloth badges David. The wheel cover was in a promenent place..........
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Follow Up By: GOB & denny vic member - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 18:25

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 18:25
yes sorry john just saw the same gentlman on the news saying what i told you iwonder if he was a local reporter talking b/s. a local logger (boss) said that he had been battling for 2 yrs tryng to get some help and he was NOT upset by the crowd today but if that bloke was tinged with green he would have been a bit peed off with the turnout
FOR OTHERS I went to my car while they were moving venue bloke was talking on mobile to somebody saying that the 4wheeelers had hijacked the meeting and that they had overreacted to what was happenig with Wombat and the proposed running of the area .He then hung up and rang somebody and told them that because of the turn out they should get somebody there to report on the meeting I wsaw that guy on 7 news scott somebody saying exactly the same thing

steve
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 18:57

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 18:57
Steve, i guess the government will ultimately now have to ask them selves and the Forest Assembly which is the right meeting to follow. Bearing in mind there is such a huge community interest in forests and access to National Parks.

I actually talked to our local State Upper house MP who has real appreciation for the fact he can no longer take his mother to see coastal and forest sites he used to be able to do. He was talking specifically about along the Great Ocean Road but those sorts of things are becoming general.

He also said that the woodchipping of the Wombat seemed to be a lot higher since the locals had changed the MP allegience there. I don't know that he saw that as a positive either, the woodchipping I mean. I know I don't........ Milling is quite a different enterprise
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Follow Up By: Baz (NSW) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 19:17

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 19:17
They did'nt show it in Sydney's 7 news, maybe they feel it's not important to us up here or maybe they want to keep us in the dark. Do you think it was a success, did they get their message across or was it organised chaos.

Baz.
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Follow Up By: GOB & denny vic member - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 19:50

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 19:50
goodday baz
somebody said something about mushrooms over the borderlol

hey john what does your mp think about bringing a gas line in amonst the apostles around port cambell and building a gas plant around there i know we need these things but placement ?? we may be down to 2 apostles by the time they lay there pipeline

4x4er to greenie
steve
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 21:34

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 21:34
Baz, I would say it was on the organised side of chaos rather than the other way around. I have no doubt there is an imprint abouth the number of 4bys in Daylesford today. In NSW the scene must be already set by the picture painted today by the lady from a community forest committee. Perhaps we know who organises them there your side of the border Baz ;-)

Steve, you will be pleased to know the pipeline actually is invisible and goes through the Two Mile, a bay west of Port Campbell, actually you may guess t?? miles west. It may act like reinforcement actually should it go under the Apostles Steve. We have all the gas plants this way just to make sure the Melbournites and Adeladians keep their home fires burning. Don't get any gas ourselves just a mess to clean up after the pipelines go through. We have three so far.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 23:41

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 23:41
About that phonecall you overheard...
from another forum.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The reason that little idiot was pushing for all registrations to be taken untill 13:00 was becuase there was a bus load of greenies on thier way there to register, just as well we cut it off
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Reply By: Member - Kim (mr) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 19:25

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 19:25
Well what a day that was, I'm just geting felling back into my hands now. But that aside I think it went as well as it could considering the turnout. We will know if the voting works because if it dos'nt go our way then somthing sly has gone on, because from where I was standing the 4x4ers were the majority by a long shot, time will tell.
It was good to see a few EO stickers, but that wheel cover did the job you could not miss that, well done john.
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 20:48

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 20:48
Kim, it is a pity that we have to search all of the faces in the crowd to try to find the one that may be the Kim we remember said he was going. I was thinking during the day about that and wondering ..........

It was great you were there today, it was sheer coincidence that in the hall we sat next to Joe. You can't tell in a crowd except if you scan the faces to tell. To find me it's the big, bald and bearded look, and there were plenty more of those. Just as well we have the rallying standard isn't it of ExplorOz
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Reply By: Member - Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 19:53

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 19:53
John, it will be interesting to see how the local press reports the meeting...I'll be looking forward to reading the local papers during the week..

Lyn
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 20:53

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 20:53
Lyn, you are right. It will be interesting to see what is said as there were so many who like us may have had breakfast. I guess the press will know that there is a lot to flavour the future life of the forest, but it will depend on the particular angle of the writer.

I will be interested to hear from your reports over the period. Thank you.
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Follow Up By: Member - Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 20:56

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 20:56
I shall let you know John...
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 12:50

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 12:50
Didnt see anything in the Sunday Sun about the meeting, but they tend to save that stuff for the weekdays. Mite jump in next time with you John.
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Reply By: Joe - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 21:38

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 21:38
Hi JohnR,
It was good to meet you today for first time,via the amazing odds of sitting down next to you both out of all those people present.
Your description of events is excellent.
I am amazed that Tim Anderson who I now understand, is responsible for the CMF project, and from the DSE, tried to keep registrations open, in spite of the Chairman announcing that they were closed.
He backed down quickly when people voiced their disapproval.

I'ts been reported in the media that 4wd's" hijacked the meeting" well exercising your right to vote is not " hijacking"

The turnout caught them off guard, and they now are aware they have awakened a sleeping giant of recreational users.
To see so many express their democratic right was a pleasure and postal vote I feel a very good outcome.
Regards
Joe

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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 21:57

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 21:57
Joe, it was good to be able to chat with you today too. I have found all that I have met with this site as the focal in the last ten days to lovely people and am pleased to be associated with.

Thanks for your thoughts on my description. I think we all value the integrity of our cause so it is important to understand as you show with your comment on Tim Anderson.

We may need to contribute and exerecise our right to vote again in the near future. Be delighted to see you there again if that is the case. Like you I hope the postal vote will do it though.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 23:43

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 23:43
From another forum.

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Also heard a conversation from one of the people that didn't agree with all of us being there.

The reason that little idiot was pushing for all registrations to be taken untill 13:00 was becuase there was a bus load of greenies on thier way there to register, just as well we cut it off
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 08:37

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 08:37
Actually you may be right Truckster but also the agenda specified the motions were taking place for the Assembly were from 1.30 pm. The welcome after registrations was at 10.30 am

The major problem being that all voting sheets had been handed out and no one could control any extras that may arrive. It was apparent though that not all that had arrived had the registration voting papers anyway.

Although all the designated leaders had declared the meeting unworkable it was interesting that Tim Anderson the DSE Wombat Community Development Officer from Daylesford was pushing to reopen registrations!!!
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 12:58

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 12:58
It may be my cynical side but a postal vote doesnt guarantee those who were there would have theor voices heard, surely, if an outcome was to be engineered (cynically) then one whereby it was all done "behind closed doors" would be a way of doing so. I am all for representation and voicing where your vote can be counted and more so where you can see the result before the counting's been done. what controls are there over the postal vote?

As for awakening a recreational user giant I agree. the more we can show our support in a positive and controlled manner, the better off we will be as a group, seen as responsible users of a precious resource. If that means we have to descend on irresponsible use such as at Deua (spelling) recently then so be it.

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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 14:12

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 14:12
Bonz, I agree with you we need to be a bit cynical about the process until it has "been seen to have been done" in the proper manner. We will just have to be the guardians of the process. We are all aware that there may be some who woul like to manipulate the process and the result, but we are there for democracy for users. In this case those who registered yesterday to ensure the access is kept fairly open.

I have downloaded quite a few files over the past few days in regard to the Wombat Forest as a starting point www.wombatforest.org I guess we all need to keep one another informed. A lot of *.pdf files there on the principles of operation of the groups.

When we also realise there were a lot of the recreational users not there it may be realised what a giant it could be. I think we realise not all are available to travel all the time as we all have higher priorities than public resources management. It may be important to muster greater numbers in the future if notice has not been taken.
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Reply By: Member - Toonfish - Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 23:33

Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 23:33
so who was the final list up for?

so the next meeting will be at Jeffs shed convention centre then?

go the RUG
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Reply By: GOB & denny vic member - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 16:58

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 16:58
by the way john ISC? we queired Interim Stewardship Council he gave his word about the votes but can he be trusted will wait to see if we all recieve our ballot papers cant think of the blokes name cook or crook chairman for the day

steve
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 20:56

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 20:56
Steve, the below is a posting from one of the correspondents at the RUGVictoria site and is a direct quote

Quote "I feel it is important though that the mailing list be validated and that the postal vote be properly done according to electoral commission rules by a proper returning officer. The ISC also needs to allow at least fourteen days from posting of documents, 2 days for post out, time for review and filling out and 2 days to post back. If any votes are returned late they MUST be assessed as not valid and therefore not counted.

The lack of closing of registration today was a debacle and should not be
tolerated. I would recommend that all people send their vote by registered mail to ensure it does not get lost in the post. Sorry, but I still don't trust this process entirely." Unquote

It gives an indication of the requirements for the day to be carried forth. Have no doubting the Rev's intentions but reading more and more of the documentation one can understand his doubts. Glad my attention has been drawn to it.
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Reply By: Member - Bernie. (Vic) - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 19:28

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 19:28
Hi JohnR
Your truck did stand out but I could not remember who it belonged to
I was a passenger in vehicle opposite it.
Whilst I thought it was a good roll up, in real terms (read poor) it means a lot of people don't care or leave it to everybody else to attend, sure it was going to be a cold wet day but one would not cancel a 4x4 trip on that basis, I'm proud to have been there & would expect to see many more people next time.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 21:02

Sunday, May 02, 2004 at 21:02
Bernie, glad you were there and proud too as I am. I am a late convert to the cause of the Wombat I guess too, but I have seen what concerns others now by gathering all of the reading material and the responses previously to groups off flavour to a particular direction. I had travelled through so many times in the past, but a week ago found many friends there. Hence the pic which a few recognise

I guess I better watch to see if my truck is followed in future. I hope I don't need to change it for a while....
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Reply By: Member - Bradley- Monday, May 03, 2004 at 09:57

Monday, May 03, 2004 at 09:57
Top work all who made it, My upmost apologies for my not being there. The little lady went down like a sack of spuds with some crazy flu, and i spent the day doing the doctor / chemist / home nurse deal.

Unfortunately certain media interests are only concerned with cheap sensationalism, and i think we really knew that would happen regardless of our behavoiur. When challenged by people ( radical greenie or otherwise) over the issue , just tell 'em that we only want fair and equal access for all combined with sensible management practices. Doesen't leave 'em a leg to stand on for their vested interests.

The Jack with sticker on board will be at the next meeting - i promise..

Thank you to all who made it, and represented our concerns .
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Monday, May 03, 2004 at 13:02

Monday, May 03, 2004 at 13:02
Bradley, others attest there were quite a few EO stickers there, but not all I know were able to make it. it will be important that others continue to go to meetings relieving those who can't go to the next one.

I just took it apon myself to write the report up for any who were interested. Having talked to Lyn earlier in the afternoon. There is no doubt that others like Truckster, Joe and Lyn have led a lot of the focus onto this issue long before me. If I can help I will, but do have other committments too as everyone else does.

We will look forward to your Jack being there next time....... it may be a bit of a battle as the government sees themselves as so riteous with some green groups aboard doing the foot work for them.
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