Submitted: Monday, Apr 04, 2005 at 22:57
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From outerlimits.

Some of you are aware that a third Wombat Forest Assembly is fast approaching - April 16th, Daylesford Secondary College - starting at 9:30 am!! We have had very little notice of this meeting even though the venue has been booked for many weeks, and we've made repeated requests for information. The locals of Daylesford - many of them - have been aware of this assembly for quite some time, but I heard from Tim Anderson (Community Development Officer) last Thursday (March 31st) that the media releases were only going out that very day - they went out late Friday! This is far too late and just unacceptable. I do wonder sometimes whether the habitual short notice of meetings concerning the Wombat CFM process is a deliberate ploy to make it difficult for non-local enthusiasts, or non-greens to get to meetings. I don't know, but I wonder about it a lot.

The Council of Stewards meetings have been conducted in an open forum format - anyone can turn up, and the chair has been routinely taking questions from the floor from observers - a breach of trust in the process agreed to at stakeholder meetings. I'm not kidding. Why have elected council members having a scheduled meeting where Joe Bloggs can interject from the peanut gallery, get up and have a say and even instruct a council member from the peanut gallery how to vote on motions that are put to the stewards. One "observer" even addressed the chair of the Council meeting recently abusing the chair with complete impugnity. Not only that, one working group, in particular, has two delegates at meetings, one on the interchange bench at Council meetings who then swaps places with the elected member so that he can have his say at the table - it's a really neat way of having two elected councillors for the price of one. This is not good enough. If TFRO did this there would be howls of "hijacking!". As the meetings are in this open format, I have decided to forward minutes of meetings to you who I know are interested in a healthy and viable Wombat State Forest. As there is no secret about meetings, the minutes are attached. Council meetings have become a standard community joke with little in the way of accountable format to date - despite excuses that the sawlog issue has consumed much time. I don't accept this as good reason for the poor running of meetings and the lack of accountability. TFRO executives met with Tim Anderson last Thursday and with the chair, Michael Chesire to discuss these matters. They both assured us the meetings would be tightened up and run properly from now on. We certainly hope so.
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