State 'out of touch' on campaigning

THE new chief executive of environmental group Markets for Change says campaigning in the marketplace is an ordinary, well regarded strategy in other parts of the world.

Former Tasmanian Greens leader Peg Putt said market-based campaigns had been "beaten up into a scandal" in Tasmania, which showed that the state was out of touch.

"I've seen the way that market campaigning has become very well established and well regarded in places like Europe," Ms Putt said.

"It focuses on what consumers want ... we empower consumers."

Ms Putt said such campaigns exposed companies that refused to change.

Markets for Change yesterday also announced that former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown had taken a position on its board and that a fund-raising drive was imminent.

"We're going to be approaching all manner of people," Ms Putt said.

Criticism of Markets for Change flowed yesterday from the state and federal Liberals.

State opposition forestry spokesman Peter Gutwein said: "Tasmanians would be outraged to hear that Markets for Change is embarking on a fund-raising campaign so that it can ramp up its efforts to sabotage the Tasmanian economy."

Federal Coalition forestry spokesman Senator Richard Colbeck said the appointment of Dr Brown at a time when environmental groups involved in forest peace talks were considering an industry proposal showed that the group had no interest in the durability of the intergovernmental agreement signed as part of the peace negotiations.

"If the IGA works, they have no reason to exist," Senator Colbeck said.

Premier Lara Giddings said she was still hopeful that an agreement would be reached on forestry.

She said that if Markets for Change had nothing to hide, it should make public who was funding its campaigns.

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