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Timber: forest industry hits back on jobs claim

Crikey readers have their say.

In defence of Andrea Yu

Kway Teow writes: I wholeheartedly agree with Stephen McDonell (“ABC China corro: another view on Andrea Yu”, yesterday) that Crikey’s Friday article missed the point of the CAMG story. This is because it was more of a response to what the international media has thus far turned into the Andrea Yu story.

McDonell says this is not the case. If so, why publish something like this, the tone of which has already been picked up by other media outlets?

CAMG and its duplicity should certainly be in focus, and it is definitely a failing of my piece as well to not assert that more strongly (in addition to misidentifying “Yu” as a pseudonym).

However, I stand by my point, and I am hardly alone in believing the treatment Andrea Yu has received is a bit like interrogating a teller after a bank fails to pass on rate cuts.

Many thanks to McDonell for taking the time to read and comment on the original Crikey story, and credit where credit is due for his excellent work in uncovering CAMG’s Chinese connections.

Crunching the timber numbers

Robert Musk, senior forest biometrician at Forestry Tasmania, writes: Re. “Data crunch: how many (con) jobs are there in Tassie forestry?” (yesterday). Andrew Macintosh and Richard Denniss just can’t crunch. Ignoring the jobs in downstream processing and manufacturing that exist solely to due to timber production in Tasmania presents a distorted view of the importance of forestry to the Tasmanian community.

The estimated final value of wood products produced from logs supplied from publicly owned forest alone in 2011/12 was $314 million. This estimate is based on the actual quantities produced and the best available information on the recovery and value of each derived product. When indirect flow-on effects are taken into account, assuming the current annual average salary for Tasmanian adults in full-time employment of just under $57,000 per year, this final value represents full-time employment for about 5,500 Tasmanians. That is 2.3% of the total workforce, not 0.5%.

Andrew and Richard point to healthcare (10.2% of the total workforce and growing) as a comparison. Tasmanians are getting older and sicker. This is not a cause for celebration. Healthcare is an expense and we need wealth generating industries such as forestry to pay for it.

That many market forces are beyond the control of government should come as no surprise to anyone. That government might have a role in mitigating the deleterious effects of market changes on communities should not either. Whether the subsidies offered to the forest industry are excessive in light of these changes can only be answered if we look at where and why the monies have been spent. Curiously, Macintosh and Denniss are quite silent on this, perhaps because the vast majority have been spent on something quite different: to compensate for the loss of timber supply arising from the large rezoning of forests into parks and reserves.

Macintosh and Denniss have a crystal ball that tells them there will be no job growth in forestry. I think they should look again. Unlike concrete and steel, timber is a renewable resource that has a great future in our low carbon economy. The rest of the developed world can see it. Australians will wake up to this fact too one day.

Preventive health

George Crisp writes: Re. “Dear preventive health wowsers: stop taking the piss” (yesterday). Bernard Keane is way off the mark in his column. There is, undisputedly, a painfully high social cost and economic burden from alcohol abuse and misuse in our society.

Regulation is the mechanism we rely on to rectify the failures of “free markets” and nowhere is this failure more evident than in asymmetric influence that the alcohol industry has, which aggressively promotes a harmful product, in much the same way as cigarettes have been.

It is absolutely the role and responsibility of the health profession to speak up on matters that affect public health. Failure to do so would be dereliction of duty.

So when Keane states, “But the motivation remains the same: social elites anxious to impose control on what they disapprove of”, he is demonstrating a failure to understand the enormity problem and/or the obligation of health professionals, myself included, to do just this.

The benefit of chaplains

Clive Morton writes: Re. “Shutting the school gate on God: a teacher’s view” (yesterday). Chaplains are under strict instructions not to preach religion but to give guidance to young people. At Gordonvale we have had a number of chaplains, all of whom met this criteria. They all have won the respect of students, teachers and towns people. It is unfortunate that elsewhere some misguided chaplains flog their version of religion which demeans the organisation.

Bob Loone writes: As a person involved in managing a local chaplain program I have to inform you (but you probably know anyway) that the seemingly deliberate inaccuracies, ignorance, cleaver deceit and nastiness displayed in this story is totally biased and unfair to the thousands of caring chaplains who work hard and cop this sort of abuse.

In not the slightest way do chaplains fit the hurtful dogma and stigma that is presented in the article as being the norm.

You have done your reputation much harm by publishing such what can only be described as deliberate distortions which follow several similar articles attacking highly ethical innocent people.

May God have mercy on you.

3
  • 1
    Hugh (Charlie) McColl
    Posted Tuesday, 20 November 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    It is disappointing that Bob Loone, in defending the school chaplaincy program and ranting about bias and unfairness, completely ignored one of the central claims of the article:
    “In 2008, Dr Evonne Paddison told the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion national conference in Melbourne that:

    ” … in Australia, we have a God-given open door to children and young people with the Gospel, our federal and state governments allow us to take the Christian faith into our schools and share it. We need to go and make disciples. What really matters is seizing the God-given opportunity we have to reach kids in schools … without Jesus, our students are lost.”

    So what about acknowledging reality Mr Loone? Speak up for all the people on your side of the fence because some of them have already spoken for you.

  • 2
    CML
    Posted Tuesday, 20 November 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    @ Bob Loone - Crikey has NOT affected its reputation one bit by publishing the article you complain of. In fact, as a subscriber, I expect Crikey to tell us the truth, and find interesting people at the coalface (like Chris) to tell us what is actually going on.
    This is supposed to be a “secular” country. We SHOULD NOT be allowing (any) religious nonsense into our State schools - full stop! As Hugh as pointed out, this quote from the article is appalling. If you want to god-bother, do it in your own time, on your own children, and in your own church. Just leave the children of this country alone.
    ALL governments in Australia should stop this chaplain program immediately, and NEVER reintroduce it.

  • 3
    CML
    Posted Tuesday, 20 November 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    @ George Crisp - I was a “health professional” for almost 50 years. I don’t remember EVER trying to “control” people or their behaviour. I think it is our job to INFORM all those patients/clients we come in contact with on the effects of smoking, drinking alcohol and poor diet choices, amongst other things.
    Once the patient/client has all the information, then it is THEIR choice what they do with it. You haven’t learned much if you think you can IMPOSE “rules and regulations” on people about lawful activities. I suspect this is what Bernard was getting at in the article.
    There are many of us out here who have all the information (and understand it!), but we still make what you would call “bad choices”. Sorry to disappoint you , but that is our right. Just because we choose NOT to live forever, and enjoy life while it lasts, should be our decision alone. Bring on voluntary euthanasia I say! Then people like you won’t be able to whinge that we cost too much!!!

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