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Government Accused Of Harassment

ACT Deputy Leader and Forestry Spokesman Hon Ken Shirley today told the Government to stop harassing Kit Richards.

“Legal action is already underway challenging the Government for acting illegally in breach of both the letter and spirit of the SOE Act.

“Kit Richards was employed by an SOE whose Government prescribed mission included the promotion and development of the sustainable utilisation of indigenous timber.

“I know Kit Richards well and regard him as a professional forester with a high level of specialised expertise and personal integrity. He is being unduly vilified, victimised and harassed by the Prime Minister and Minister of SOE’s for performing his duties which, regrettably, conflicted with the newly elected Government’s announced policies but not with the law and mission statement of his employer at that time.

“The Government has the right to change the law and mission statement of SOE’s but it should not harass individuals because existing laws and government directions conflict with an intended policy direction.

“The Kit Richards saga is equivalent to Government harassing a Solid Energy employee for promoting the use of coal because their intended policy might be to cease coal use because of pending climate change concerns.

“Kit Richards’ acknowledged expertise in the certification of sustainable forest management is of critical importance to Timberlands West Coast and his re-employment on a consultancy basis is essential if this important work is to be progressed.

“If it is Government’s intention to close down Timberlands West Coast then they should take that action. It is, however, disgraceful for Ministers of the Crown to vilify individuals over a protracted time period in an attempt to rally public support for their political ends” concluded Ken Shirley.


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