The Border Watch : June 6th 2014
8 opinion EDITORIAL TODAY’S revelations there is a growing skills gap in the region’s forestry harvesting sector is bittersweet news for industry and the community. While it is positive the forestry industry has made a remarkable turnaround in just a few years, the rapid upward spiral in exports and increasing capacity at regional mills means a serious workforce shortage is looming. This is difficult to digest given just two years ago Carter Holt Harvey closed its Lakeside mill and threatened to axe 1000 workers over log prices. The South East was also reeling from the forward sale of the region’s plantation harvesting rights, which contributed to a significant and prolonged loss of confidence in our city. But the industry has now dusted off the impacts of this turbulent time and is witnessing unprecedented levels of plantation harvesting. The industry - which is riding on the back of booming exports and a housing recovery - could accommodate an additional 300 skilled workers if they knocked on the doors of haulage, logging and other industry-related contractors. This is certainly a serious conundrum for industry given it is expensive to train workers to use the high-tech and expensive machinery With industry willing to pour money into training initiatives, both federal and state governments should get on board with funding to ensure the region’s forestry industry can continue to move forward. Meanwhile, the timber union’s call for the axing of the ForestrySA Board on the surface appears to have some merit. With the forestry management agency radically reducing its workforce, questions do need to be asked whether its board needs to continue given the $200,000 cost to taxpayers. It was also interesting to note the bulk of the redundancies have been offered to the weekly paid staff, not the executives. While this appears lopsided on the surface, ForestrySA now should come out and explain why the higher paid staff have been spared the cut. ViSiT US onLinE borderwatch.com.au COMMENT Libs outsmarted by slick Labor Party machine ROM THE FRONT PORCH R REENWOOD GRAHAM R ESTABLISHED 1861 Published by The Border Watch Pty Ltd ABN: 78 007 828 819 Registered office: 81 Commercial Street East, Mount Gambier, SA 5290 Postal address: Box 309, Mount Gambier, SA 5290 Telephone: 08 8724 1555; Fax: 08 8724 1551 Website: www.borderwatch.com.au SMS: 0427 135 114 Proud member of the SCOTT GROUP OF COMPANIES The Border Watch Management: General Manager: Robin Reid Email: email@example.com Editor: Jason Wallace Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sports Editor: Rod Morris Email: email@example.com Sales Manager: Dennis Jackson Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Pre-Press Manager: Jamie Croker Email: email@example.com Administration Manager: Demi Hammond Email: firstname.lastname@example.org The Border Watch Audited by Audit Bureau of Circulations Telephone 8724 1555, Fax 8724 1551 Responsibility for editorial comment is taken by Jason Wallace, 81 Commercial Street East, Mt Gambier The Border Watch proudly uses 100% recycled paper 538600 8 - The Border Watch, Friday, June 6, 2014 KELSEY HATELEY Mount Gambier I would like to see more clothes shops like they have in Adelaide, such as ICE clothing. A Boost Juice too. EMILY PETTINGILL Mount Gambier A decent place to go out would be cool. Somewhere people could hang out with their friends and enjoy themselves. LAUREN KENNY Mount Gambier A Boost Juice and a Krispy Kreme. Somewhere nice to sit where people can have lunch and relax. “TRAITOR”, “rat”, “treachery”, “political betrayal” and “turncoat” were some of the words and phrases used by various Liberal politicians and the Liberal faithful to describe the defection of former Liberal leader Martin Hamilton-Smith to the Labor Government last week. They may all be true, but one word which wasn’t used, but which perhaps sums up the Libs’ problem, was “outsmarted” after Labor political playmakers successfully enticed Mr Hamilton-Smith to break ranks with the Libs to join the Labor Government as a minister and cabinet member. The Labor Party machine outfoxed the Liberals once again, showing Labor is much smarter when it comes to maintaining numbers to remain in government. Labor does it so well and so often it can’t be regarded as a coincidence - one side is simply better at it than the other. Let’s be honest, the Labor Government has been labouring for some years and despite the gerrymander, any half decent opposition would now be happily enjoying their second term in office. When it comes to obtaining the numbers to govern, the Liberals have been outplayed and outmanoeuvred so often in the past decade it must be heartbreaking STREET SWEEPER What would you like to see at the new rail lands development? for true blue Liberal supporters. Back in 2002, Labor pulled off a coup when independents Rory McEwen, Peter Lewis and National Karlene Maywald backed Labor so it could take office. Many are drawing a parallel between Mr McEwen going from an independent to a minister and cabinet member to Mr Hamilton-Smith’s defection from one party to another. As much as I and others criticised Mr McEwen’s actions, it was based mainly on the fact his support of Labor and a subsequent ministry and cabinet post was claimed to be self-serving and despite holding the balance of power it failed to produce any great benefit for Mount Gambier. In the wake of Mr Hamilton-Smith’s defection, undoubtedly there will be plenty of Liberal soul-searching and there will be a backlash from his electorate, but that is small comfort for the Libs. One word bandied about by Liberals last week in the Hamilton-Smith saga was loyalty, or rather the lack of it. Claims that Mr Hamilton-Smith acted out of self-interest hold some weight, but when it comes to loyalty the Liberal party room has never been a place where much of that has been evident. Up until Mr Hamilton-Smith’s defection there were three former leaders and deputy leaders in the party room, each of them, for one reason or another, deposed at some point. The apparent lack of loyalty to leaders, such as Isobel Redmond, left a public impression of a divided party which spent more time knifing its leaders than Labor. While Labor has been on the nose for some years, the Liberals have yet to show Adelaide voters they deserve to be in office. It has often been claimed the Libs have won clear support from regional areas, but have they? One only has to go back to 2002, when Mr Lewis, Mr McEwen and Ms Maywald turned certain defeat into a comfortable victory to understand that at critical times Labor has regularly been able to convince independents to support them to form government. This year it was Port Pirie independent Geoff Brock. The Labor Party backroom machine does it so well, but they get help from the Liberals who regularly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The Liberals might have better policies, which are more likely to get the state out of its huge deficit and debt, but that is of little value if the party is on the opposition benches. Maybe, as Member of MacKillop Mitch Williams said last week, the Libs would be better off without Mr Hamilton-Smith, but there is one area where the Liberals fail in comparison to Labor and that is discipline. That is the challenge for leader Stephen Marshall, because even though outsiders such as Mr Lewis, Mr McEwen, Mr Brock and Ms Maywald and now Mr Hamilton-Smith, have taken plumb ministry positions from aspiring Labor backbenchers, there has not been one word of dissent from the Labor caucus. Now that is discipline.
June 5th 2014
June 10th 2014