Meeting discusses woodchipping
By Liam Mitchell
WOLLONGONG — A public meeting at the Resistance Centre on February 18 was told of distortions by the media and the timber industry in the debate over woodchipping of old growth forests.
Chris Pickering, the Democratic Socialist candidate for Wollongong in the state elections, told the meeting, "We know the real reason for the present onslaught: within 5 years, large timber plantations in South-East Asia will come on line for harvesting. As a result the timber companies are trying to destroy these forests as rapidly as possible.
"It's not justified or responsibly managed timber extraction. It's environmental vandalism and a crime against humanity and the planet."
Pickering said that the real issue is "not jobs versus the environment, but that the timber companies are destroying the environment in pursuit of the quick buck. The fact is that woodchipping in old growth forests destroys jobs."
The meeting had a lively discussion period, with a member of the "Forest Protection Society" opposing many of the policies of the green movement, in particular the Wilderness Society.
However, in discussion it came out that many of the points raised by the FPS member were actually agreed to by the meeting and that many of his ideas about what the green movement stood for were misconceptions based on the distortions of the media.
The meeting resolved to continue campaigning against destructive logging in old growth forests and to initiate discussions with unions in the area to try to reach out to workers both in the industry and in the community.