15 Apr 2016

Who Is Dario Tomat?

Dario Tomat grew-up in the Hydro Electricity township of Wayatinah Tasmania in the 1950’s. He graduated with a degree in engineering from the University of Tasmania in 1975. Dario worked as a Senior Engineer at the Hydro-Electric Commission and by the 1980’s was with the Energy Policy Unit at the Department of Premier and Cabinet. This appears to be the beginning of a long career in many government roles for Dario.
Between 1983 and 1988 Dario studied for a Bachelor of Business Administration at UTAS. From 1992 to 1996 he was studying for a Master of Business Administration from the Chifley Business School.
In 1996 Dario was a founding director of a private consulting company ‘Whetstone Pty Ltd’. Today Whetstone operates from inside the government business Forestry Tasmania's head office at 79 Melville Street Hobart. In October 2000 Dario had a Forestry Tasmania email address and was Project Manager of Southwood Resouces-Huon. By February 2004 Dario was General Manager of Newood Huon Pty Ltd, a position he still held in March 2015.
According to the Tasmanian Auditor General, Newood Huon is a fully-owned subsidiary of Forestry Tasmania. It's primary purpose appears to be ownership of the 'Southwood' development that hosts the Ta Ann Huon veneer mill. In November 2005 Dario worked for the Pulp Mill Task Force undertaking a study tour of a Chilean pulp mill. Ex-Forestry Tasmania CEO Bob Gordon also transitioned between Forestry Tasmania, the Pulp Mill Task Force and back to Forestry Tasmania.
By the end of January 2006 Dario was back at Forestry Tasmania and by April 2006 he was engaged in the Newood-Ta Ann coordination meetings. These meetings went for at least 6 months and established Ta Ann in Tasmania. The meeting minutes were released under FOI and document the incredible lengths Forestry Tasmania went to in order to set-up Ta Ann in Tasmania.
By May 2006 Dario had a Department of Economic Development email address and appears to have begun representing DED in the Ta Ann coordination meetings. This department helped Ta Ann get a Commonwealth grant to set-up shop in Tasmania.
In March 2008 Dario became Managing Director of Newood Energy Pty Ltd, another wholly-owned subsidiary of Forestry Tasmania. Amazingly, Newood Energy has the same phone number as Whetstone Pty Ltd and operates from the same building.
In December 2012 Dario from Whetstone petitioned the Tasmanian Upper House to pass the 'Intergovernmental Agreement' to ensure Ta Ann stayed in Tasmania. Whetstone claimed to be a supplier to Ta Ann.
By 2013 Dario was Board Chairman of the National Trust of Tasmania and in December 2015 Dario was appointed to the TasPorts board, apparently to fill a vacancy left by Evan Rolley. Rolley had attended university with Ta Ann owner Hamed Sepawi in 1975, been the CEO of Forestry Tasmania, signed-off on the Ta Ann wood supply contracts, and is now Executive Director of Ta Ann Tasmania.
I phoned Dario at Whetstone and asked him why they were located inside the Forestry Tasmania head office. Dario said they were leasing space in the building. My research shows the building is owned 50% by Abacus Property Services and 50% by Forestry Tasmania. According to Abacus there are only two tenants in the 79 to 85 Melville Street property – Forestry Tasmania and Freedom Furniture. Dario is the Chair of the Brain Injury Association of Tasmania and was also the Chair of the National Trust of Australia.

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