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Report a furphy about Tassie forestry

The Australia Institute (TAI) continues its history of using dubious numbers to push a green agenda according to Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture Senator Richard Colbeck. Sources: Timberbiz, Herald Sun, ABC News

Senator Colbeck said TAI was deliberately trying to deceive the Australian public and avoid scrutiny by leaking a report on the Tasmania forest industry to media outlets before releasing it publically.

“A peer review of a previous TAI paper by Australia’s leading forestry employment researcher, Dr Jacki Schirmer, found a claim that the forest industry only employs 975 workers was completely and utterly wrong,” Senator Colbeck said.

The Herald Sun reported that The Australian Institute compiled data about government assistance for the forestry industry since 1989, based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

The newspaper said the latest report builds on studies by the institute that highlight ongoing failings in the industry.

It calls for a staged wind-down of native forest harvesting, coupled with the use of the native forest estates to generate carbon credits which the institute said could net $1.4 billion for Tasmania.

ABC News also reported on the document.

Senator Colbeck said TAI’s previous employment estimates leave out many jobs usually considered part of the forest industry including special species timbers, wood and paper product manufacturing.

“The Australia Institute is known for its anti-forest industry stance and this report is no different. The findings of this so called report should be properly scrutinised,” Senator Colbeck said.

“This report continues the history of using dubious numbers in an attempt to justify the Green’s job destroying policies.”

In a previous review of a TAI report Dr Schirmer stated: “TAI’s employment figures are wrong, as is the implication that an industry is unimportant unless it employs a large proportion of the labour force.

“These types of arguments do little to help resolve one of the more bitter and divisive of Australia’s environmental conflict.”

Senator Colbeck said the Tasmanian forest industry was vitally important to regional communities and had a flow on effect that created more employment.

“The forest industry makes an enormous contribution to the Australian economy, especially in regional communities,” Senator Colbeck said.