While in Bega last week for the usual all day marathon of shopping, appointments etc, I was reminded how fortunate we in the Valley are to have wonderful libraries throughout our shire and a gallery that hosts varied and exciting exhibitions over the year.
Tired and hot I stepped into the library to look for a DVD. What a peaceful, cool oasis it was, the staff were, as always, extremely helpful and I left not only with my DVD and an armful of books but feeling refreshed and calm.
Across the aisle our Regional Gallery tempted me in with an exhibition titled Weapons for the Soldier. Aboriginal artist in the APY lands initiated the concept.
Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists contributed works, which examined issues of warfare and protecting land and country. The quality of the work exceeded my expectations and left me moved and thoughtful.
What a great way to break up a boring day of shopping.
Privatise all of the pools, or let them be run and funded by committees in their local area. I have my own pool, and don't feel that ratepayers who own pools should have to subside other people. The lessees of the existing pools seem to make quite a good living on what they now receive. If the locals can't make a go of it, close the pools.
Cut down on number of pools as access to beaches is another option and free. Also multi-use of smaller number of pools on a roster basis would help children, adults, pensioners on different days. We need to save water to drink, not swim in it!
On November 28, 2019, it was 50 years since the chipper at the Eden woodchip mill in southeast NSW was commissioned.
In 1965, the Crown asked the district forest director at Batemans Bay, Ray Hammond, to establish a woodchip industry and to call for tenders. Jack Beale's (Liberal, Minister for Forests) colleague met Hammond in Wynyard Park to 'smooth out' the tender process.
Hammond's initial estimate determined the cost of woodchips should be 7/6d (75cents in today's terms) per 100 super foot from saw mill timber waste, and forest waste which was defined as tree heads and butts and damaged or hollowed timber felled for sawmill logs.
Protection of the forest by the acquisition of timber under the original definition of 'waste' was ignored and whole logs were then, and continue to be, supplied to the Eden chipmill. The mill's exports now equate to over 42 million tonnes of woodchips, generated from the logging of 31 million trees, from the state forests of NSW from the Victorian border, west to Tumut and north to Kiama.
Assuming eucalyptus has a mean wood density of 650kg/m3, if the 1965 cost of eucalyptus sawmill timber was 7/6d (75c) per 100 super foot, how does that price compare to the southern region's record low price for pulp logs of $3.72 a tonne paid to Forestry Corp today?
Fifty years later, calculations prove that the native forests of NSW are now being sold at 90 per cent less than they were in 1965 - 0.372c/kg in 2019 as compared to 3.94c/kg in 1965 (converted to 2019 currency equivalent).
This confirms that the woodchip industry has been in economic free fall for years and it would long since have ceased to operate if it was a commercial enterprise without government subsidy. That state and federal government politicians continue to support this terrible industry from the public purse, is irresponsible at least.
The contested practice of logging native forests for woodchips is a conundrum of national importance as the predicted inherent failings when the woodchip industry in southeast NSW was established, align with the present situation which is still neither economically nor environmentally sustainable and works in opposition to the public's moral conscience which demonstrates a need to protect, not destruct.
The South East Region Conservation Alliance has developed a scorecard which summarises outcomes of the past 50 years of woodchipping. See www.serca.org.au/scorecard.html
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