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Friday analysis: ABC fires another misguided shot at VicForests

Goulburn Weir

Again, the ABC has set its sights on firing shots at VicForests using any ammo it can lay hands to even if its NQR (not quite right). On 20 April the ABC published a long article based on information that was askew. It claimed that Melbourne’s drinking water was at risk from logging operations by VicForests. Source: Mandy Parry-Jones

The ABC relied on a report authored by two academics which refers to research undertaken in 2019 within the Upper Goulburn catchment area.

The Upper Goulburn does not have a water catchment area that supplies Melbourne.

Now, if you were a skeptic, you may think reading the article in its entirety that either it was a slow news day or it was an opportunity to rehash previous stories about logging in general.

The article starts with a focus on Melbourne’s drinking water but then heads quickly down the path of discussion on the logging of steep slopes, then to “Widespread and systematic illegal logging”. The article is liberally sprinkled with quotes from academics such as David Lindemayer.

Victorian Shadow Assistant Minister for Forestry Gary Blackwood has stated that the Victorian Government should stand up for VicForests against attacks by Green activists and unsubstantiated claims. And pigs may fly.

I don’t think anyone in this industry believes that the Victorian Government is prepared to say boo to green activists in case it makes The Greens edgy. Furthermore, it is not in any way considering the long-term implications of its deconstruction of the forestry industry, its view is restricted to four years at a time, and we are only two years in before the next election in late 2022.

As a woman who has been working in generally male environments for more than 30 years, albeit mostly as a journalist, I cannot support Kersten Gentle any more strenuously than to publish her personal article.

Like Ms Gentle and I suspect the majority of women in predominately male industries, there have been times, unfortunately many times, when inappropriate actions have been foisted upon us.

I remember being introduced to a man in the auto industry for the first time and before he even shook my hand made reference to the size of my breasts, I had to stop myself from remarking that he must have a small one to think that was an appropriate response to an introduction.

But I did stop myself from saying it because I would be dropping to his low level. And that’s the point, no matter what goes on in your head as an adult you can stop yourself from taking that a step further into inappropriate behaviour. And by stopping, it will remove the feeling that as a woman you don’t belong in industries like forestry and timber, and maybe even politics.