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Sun Metals threatens offshore move if ETS goes ahead

Sun Metals threatens offshore move if ETS goes ahead

The World Today - Thursday, 13 November , 2008 12:10:00

ELEANOR HALL: The Federal Government is facing an onslaught from industry today over its plans for
an emissions trading scheme.

The world's largest zinc producer is threatening to close down its Australian smelters if the
scheme goes ahead in 2010 saying carbon trading would make its local operations internationally
uncompetitive. Now a Korean-owned metals company, Sun Metals, is threatening to move to China if
the Government goes ahead with the scheme.

And the Federal Opposition says this is only a taste of the industry anger over the Government's
approach to climate change.

In Canberra, Alexandra Kirk reports.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Prime Minister is off to Washington for a special meeting of world leaders on
the global financial crisis. Opposition MPs predict news of his leaked conversation with President
Bush has spread far and wide with damaging consequences.

MICHAEL KEENAN: I think there is no question that when the G20 leaders talk to Kevin Rudd, they
will be very careful what they say for fear of having it leaked to the media later on.

IAN MACFARLANE: Look every political leader is going to wary of who you can and cannot have a
confidential conversation with. Every minister knows that a confidential conversation, even between
ministers, has to remain confidential if you are going to maintain integrity of government.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Labor MPs jumped to their leader's defence.

RICHARD MARLES: Well, the Prime Minister does not go to the G20 with embarrassment and I think the
Prime Minister has cleared up the affair. I mean the Prime Minister is saying that it didn't
happen. The President of the United States is saying that it didn't happen.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But one backbencher didn't get the Government line straight.

JAMES BIDGOOD: There is no question that Kevin Rudd was indiscreet. The case is closed. No damage
is done. That is the official US line.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Any attempts to probe and embarrass Mr Rudd in a Senate inquiry have been averted.
Family First Senator Steve Fielding wanted to set up an investigation into who leaked details of
the phone call in which President Bush reportedly asked what the G20 was, arguing it has damaged
Australia's reputation.

STEVE FIELDING: I think it is a real concern. Why would anyone not support an inquiry? This is
absurd to me. I think that people have got to explain themselves why they wouldn't so look I am
just hoping common sense will prevail this morning.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But even before Steve Fielding put his motion to the Senate, it was clear he didn't
have the numbers. Greens leader Bob Brown, a long-time supporter of the Senate inquiry process
declared there were more important issues dominating the political landscape.

BOB BROWN: Whether the Senate should head to a constitutional showdown, which would be required if
the Prime Minister were to be summoned before the Senate, or not on this issue, on George Bush's
intelligence, I don't think so.

I think the Prime Minister needs a tighter ship so that leaks like this don't occur but it doesn't
warrant the quite extraordinary powers of the Senate being taken to their nth degree.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And independent Senator Nick Xenophon wasn't convinced either.

NICK XENOPHON: Look, I think that the PM and his office have copped grief over this. The question
is do you have a full-blown Senate inquiry and for those of you that have seen the terms of
reference, that involves looking at things, subpoenaing journalists, calling people from the PMs
office and in my very first speech in the Senate, I made it very clear that the protection for
journalists should be increased, not decreased after what happened to McManus and Harvey.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The result clearly frustrated the Opposition's Attorney-General spokesman, George

GEORGE BRANDIS: Nothing could be more serious than a breach of the security of a conversation
between the Prime Minister and the President of the United States of America particularly when
there is credible reason to believe that the source of the disclosure was the Prime Minister

As a result of the Labor Party's opportunistic and hypocritical conduct, the opportunity for
parliamentary scrutiny has been denied and the Australian people should form, draw their own

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Government could have a bigger battle on its hands as it prepares to release
its white paper on an emissions trading scheme. The world's largest zinc producer Nyrstar with
smelters is South Australia and Tasmania is warning if the Government's emissions trading scheme
goes ahead as planned, the company will become uncompetitive globally and be forced to shut up shop
in Australia.

It is a warning the Opposition's environment spokesman Greg Hunt has leapt on. He says Nyrstar is
not the only one. He has added the aluminium, paper and cement industries to the list and a second
zinc producer.

GREG HUNT: There is also Sun Metals from Townsville in Queensland. They have indicated that they
are very seriously considering moving offshore to China and global emissions from their production
will double.

What that means is they produce about a million tonnes of CO2 from their Townville production every
year. If they went to China, their advice is that their emissions would be two million tonnes a

So the Rudd plan will increase global emissions and increase Australian unemployment.

ELEANOR HALL: That is the Opposition spokesman for climate change, environment and water, Greg
Hunt, ending that report by Alexandra Kirk in Canberra.

*Editor's note: Due to production difficulties, this program is the edition broadcast to Queensland
at 13.10pm AEDT.

Shareholders vote in favour of St George merger

Shareholders vote in favour of St George merger

The World Today - Thursday, 13 November , 2008 12:18:00

ELEANOR HALL: In Sydney today shareholders of St George Bank voted overwhelmingly in favour of a
merger with Westpac that will create Australia's largest bank. But the vote was accompanied by some
impassioned protest about the demise of the bank that started out as that building society with the
big green dragon.

Richard Lindell was at today's shareholders' meeting in Sydney and he joins us now.

So Richard, what was the mood of shareholders at the meeting?

RICHARD LINDELL: Well there were hundreds of shareholders there this morning. Many of those were
there to lodge a protest vote and certainly on the floor there were a lot of questions regarding
potential job losses. There were a lot of questions regarding executive and board pay and how that
will play out under the scheme of arrangements. And any of those questions with a protest element
to it were met with a warm round of applause.

Many of the shareholders are in fact customers as well so even those voting in favour were a bit
sad to see end of an independent fifth, Australia's fifth biggest bank.

Here's what some of them had to say this morning.

SHAREHOLDER: Well, I am against the multi-globalisation should we say. I was in the Advance Bank
before St George took over and it was a great little bank and St George took over and it is getting
bigger and now of course Westpac has taken over and it is going to get bigger still and less
competition mainly.

SHAREHOLDER 2: We'll be voting in favour of the merger. St George has been very good to us and for
us and, but however this is the way things go.

SHAREHOLDER 3: We are a little bit sorry to see St George gobbled up because we have had rather a
fond feeling for it but we are going with the flow here and I think it should work well.

RICHARD LINDELL: Of course in these deals, it is all about the proxies and more than 94 per cent
voted in favour of the deal so it is in fact a done deal.

ELEANOR HALL: Now you mentioned job losses. How many jobs are at risk?

RICHARD LINDELL: Well, the chairman did concede that there will be job losses. Some estimates say
around 2000. The union is warning of many, many more. Of course these mergers rest on cutting costs
so there will be losses of jobs in the back office, in call centres and in administration as well.

But the bank is a little hamstrung because one of the conditions from government is that there is
no branch closures for at least three years and the CEO of Westpac now is Gail Kelly who was also
the CEO of St George beforehand, so she knows the power of the St George brand and she is unlikely
to rationalise to the extent where that power and that brand is lost.

ELEANOR HALL: But the union is warning of thousands of job losses you say?

RICHARD LINDELL: That is correct and here is what the SFU national secretary Leon Carter had to say
earlier today.

LEON CARTER: This proposal is not a result of the financial crisis. Are banks doing it a bit
tougher than they used to? Of course they are. But St George, even in this environment, has made a
billion dollar profit. You have got the government guarantee. Banks are not in danger of
collapsing. This is simply a takeover from Westpac to remove one of its competitors and why should
shareholders vote for it?

Why should they vote for a scheme that will consign 5000 workers to unemployment?

ELEANOR HALL: That is the secretary of the financial sector union Leon Carter.

Now he was saying that this is not about the financial crisis, but the credit squeeze does make
things more difficult for Westpac, doesn't it?

RICHARD LINDELL: Well, there is no doubt that funding costs are rising and in fact, even raising
capital in global financial markets is very difficult at the moment as we all know.

But in recent years St George has had a very good track record. It has grown very strongly even
though its biggest market is New South Wales which has been particularly sluggish but the St George
chairman did warn this morning that is a deal failed, growth would slow, it would have to raise its
tier one capital which effectively means it can lend less and that of course, if it lends less, its
profits will also fall

So here is what chairman John Curtis told shareholders.

JOHN CURTIS: We are now trading in very different and very turbulent financial times.

Despite the recent action taken by the Australian Government, our financial services sector is
expected to continue facing a number challenges in the coming year.

These include softening growth across the broader Australian economy. Slower growth in lending
products and an increase in credit defaults. In this environment, the earnings growth for all
banks, including St George, is expected to slow.

ELEANOR HALL: That is the chairman of St George, John Curtis.

So Richard, what does this merger do to competition in the sector?

RICHARD LINDELL: Well St George at the moment is Australia's fifth biggest bank but we are not only
looking at the loss of St George as an independent bank, just in the last month or two we had
BankWest being sold to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and BankWest is very big in Western
Australia. Not only that, it had big expansion plans along the east coast as well.

So what we are seeing now is a big shakeout of the financial services section and we'll certainly
see less competition now. We'll have the big four banks, the four pillars, plus a few little
regionals but they won't have much market share so we are really looking at those four banks
dominating the market.

ELEANOR HALL: Not so good for consumers, is it?

RICHARD LINDELL: Absolutely right because of course the basics of economics tells us that less
banks means less competition and that will mean higher rates for consumers.

But there is no doubt that in these times the Government has allowed this to happen because it
wants the banks to be stable and solvent so they have foregone competition in the short term but
they will certainly have a longer-term policy here because there will be less competition in the

ELEANOR HALL: Richard Lindell, thank you. And Richard Lindell was at the St George annual general
meeting this morning.

NZ tour operators struggling as recession hits

NZ tour operators struggling as recession hits

The World Today - Thursday, 13 November , 2008 12:42:00

ELEANOR HALL: New Zealand's tourism operators are struggling to cope with a rush of cancellations.

The country has been in recession for months. The number of Australian visitors is down 10 per cent
on last year. And no one expects things to improve any time soon.

As New Zealand correspondent Kerri Ritchie reports from Queenstown.

TAI WARD-HOLMES: Basically the colours are bright.

KERRI RITCHIE: Tai Ward-Holmes has one of the most enviable views from his office window.

TAI WARD-HOLMES: Well a panel like that is actually three separate paintings.

KERRI RITCHIE: His office is a fold-up chair by the lake in Queenstown, where he paints the
surrounding ice capped mountains. On a good day, the artist might sell one or two of his works.

TAI WARD-HOLMES: The price of that is $1000 but I can give you a discount on it.

CUSTOMER: All right, yep.

KERRI RITCHIE: Tai Ward-Holmes says the recession has sent a chill through this picturesque
playground. Tourist numbers have dropped, and so has the price of his paintings.

TAI WARD-HOLMES: I exhibit on the street in Queenstown and I am happy to bargain with potential

KERRI RITCHIE: So you've halved the cost of some of your work?

TAI WARD-HOLMES: Some of the works, yes. I am happy to see it go to a good home.

KERRI RITCHIE: Queenstown is hit harder than most places, because it relies solely on its tourism

Don Upton from Melbourne is finding New Zealand very expensive.

DON UPTON: Having made up our mind to do the trip, we decided to continue. As a retiree we have a
situation where our superannuation has been severely affected.

Yes we were considering going to the UK next year. We will review that situation when we look at
how our superannuation is standing up.

(Sound of bubbles in a spa)

KERRI RITCHIE: Tony Williams owns Onsen Hot Pools - the business has only been up and running for
15 months.

TONY WILLIAMS: Tired, cold, sore skiers - takes a lot of willpower for them to drive past a sign
that says hot pools. We get very, very busy in the winter

KERRI RITCHIE: Pretty quiet here today. How do you change your business plan and try and attract
say more Australians.

TONY WILLIAMS: We are, perhaps looking at advertising more widely. The truth is our costs have
increased dramatically in the last 12 months but we are going to weather that. The primary cost for
us is energy, gas, that is how we heat our pools.

KERRI RITCHIE: There have been cancellations right across New Zealand. Motels have slashed their
room rates.

Clive Geddes is the mayor of Queenstown.

CLIVE GEDDES: It is a resort economy that relies almost entirely on the visitor industry, national
and international, and the construction that is associated with those visitors for its economic
well-being and those are two things that in a recessive economy, people step on, pull the
hand-brake on, first.

KERRI RITCHIE: And that hand-brake has been well and truly pulled?

CLIVE GEDDES: Yeah, started to get pulled on last year with signs that the number of bed nights
from international visitors was slipping and also that the construction industry particularly
around large managed apartment complexes, was coming to a halt and it has taken 12 months for both
of those trends to become realities.

KERRI RITCHIE: In Queenstown, the council has changed its focus - it's now encouraging Kiwis to
holiday at home and is also trying to lure Aussies from the east coast.

CLIVE GEDDES: Yeah, we started to think about this 12 months ago. We have a marketing arm called
Destination Queenstown and they put before the community a plan that said there is a change coming.
It looks as though our long-haul travel is going to slide. Let's focus on the Auckland domestic
market and on the east coast Australian cities because they are within comfortable flying distance.
We have an outstanding winter and summer product.

KERRI RITCHIE: Artist Tai Ward-Holmes says it could be years, but Queenstown will bounce back like
it did after the recessions of '87 and '97. He says the picture will get prettier - and art lovers
should make the most of the downturn.

TAI WARD-HOLMES: Art at this time of the recession is actually a good investment because people can
purchase art at a lower price and it is better than money in the bank so to speak.

ELEANOR HALL: That is artist Tai Ward-Holmes, ending Kerri Ritchie's report from Queenstown.

Computing the cost of an election promise: WA says tens of millions

Computing the cost of an election promise: WA says "tens of millions"

The World Today - Thursday, 13 November , 2008 12:14:00

ELEANOR HALL: A year after it promised to deliver a computer to every high school student, the
Federal Government is facing a rebellion from state leaders over the plan.

One state education minister says the program would cost her state "tens of millions of dollars" to
implement and she says this is simply unaffordable.

But the Federal Government says it is reviewing the digital education program and will discuss its
latest proposals at the next meeting of state and federal leaders.

In Canberra, Sabra Lane reports.

SABRA LANE: A year ago tomorrow - Kevin Rudd delivered the centrepiece of his party's election
campaign launch - a $1.2-billion digital education revolution, with a computer for every secondary
school student, from years nine to 12.

KEVIN RUDD: I want to provide every secondary school student with the foundations to move into the
digital economy of the future. This will not just be a one-off investment. We will fund the
replacement of these systems to keep them at the cutting edge.

SABRA LANE: In May, the ABC's Chris Uhlmann asked Mr Rudd to guarantee schools wouldn't have to
hold fetes to fund the digital education revolution.

KEVIN RUDD: Now what individual schools do for fundraising, well Chris, that is a matter for them.

SABRA LANE: This week, Liberal backbencher Tony Smith told parliament that Lilydale High School in
his Melbourne electorate has asked parents to pay an annual fee to help cover the costs of
computers in schools.

TONY SMITH: The school has had to impose this levy to pay for all of those obvious on-costs, that
are obvious to anyone installing a computer everywhere, obvious to anyone except the minister.

I wouldn't go so are as to exclude those opposite from that. I think they'd realise that if you buy
a computer and you actually want to make it work, you need to plug it into something. You need to
connect it to the internet.

Well, not Julia Gillard, not the Minister for Education. Now the parents of Lilydale High have been
told they will have an annual levy of between $150 and $300 a year.

Now this is about to be repeated in numbers of high schools across Australia if they want to make
the computers work.

SABRA LANE: Based on what computer parents choose for their child, they will pay either $150 or
$300 extra every year, per student, to cover what the schools says are additional administrative,
technical and software support costs associated with the computers.

Over four years that is $600 or $1200 extra per student. Mr Smith says parents weren't warned about
that during Labor's campaign launch.

TONY SMITH: With great fanfare the policy was announced at the last federal election. A computer on
every desk. But I tell you what wasn't in the policy, what wasn't in the policy was that every
parent would have to pay a fee or a tax to actually make the computers work.

SABRA LANE: The New South Wales Government recently banned its state schools from applying for
computers in the second round of the program because it couldn't afford the additional costs.

The West Australian Education Minister Dr Liz Constable says the policy - as it stands - is

LIZ CONSTABLE: Well, as I understand it, for every dollar that the Commonwealth would spend, it
would cost the states three to four dollars in maintenance, in power upgrades, in ongoing costs of
staff to manage the computers' software and so on.

So the federal election commitment would in fact cost the states an awful lot more than it will
cost the Commonwealth.

SABRA LANE: It is not something that you could easily cop on the chin and just pay?

LIZ CONSTABLE: Oh no. We are talking tens of millions of dollars if not more. It is a cost that of
course, we don't have in our budget because it was an election commitment of the Federal

SABRA LANE: Is there any part of that additional cost that Western Australia could bear?

LIZ CONSTABLE: We could bear some cost but a lot less than we anticipate if there is no change to
the commitment of the Commonwealth. Some of the calculations that have been done here would suggest
that if there was one computer to every three students, we could comfortably bear some of the cost
but if it is a computer for every student, we can't.

SABRA LANE: Dr Constable raised the issue of costs at a meeting of state and territory education
ministers about a fortnight ago. She was assured costs would be discussed at the next meeting of
premiers and the Prime Minister due in the next month.

But the WA education minister says the policy is a good idea for some students.

LIZ CONSTABLE: They're especially a good idea for students from disadvantaged homes and backgrounds
because it gives them access to computers that they mightn't have in their own home.

But at the end of the day, computers are a tool to be used by students and teachers and there is a
lot more to education than just computers.

SABRA LANE: A spokeswoman for the Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard says it is the first
time the Commonwealth Government has a program to provide computers for students in year nine to

The office says the Department of Finance has reviewed the additional costs faced by the states
which will be discussed at the next Council of Australian Governments meeting due by the end of the

The spokeswoman says the Government understands that individual schools have their own programs and
that the Minister is pleased that Lilydale High School believes it is important for students to be
able to access information technology as part of their education.

But the office says the policies and fees charged by individual schools are a matter for those

ELEANOR HALL: Sabra Lane reporting.

Forestry sector calls for government support

Forestry sector calls for government support

The World Today - Thursday, 13 November , 2008 12:26:00

ELEANOR HALL: The Federal Government's decision to give the car industry a green incentive has
prompted the forestry sector to make its own demands.

But rather than an injection of funds into the forestry industry, managers and the forestry unions
are asking the Federal Government for regulatory changes.

The forestry sector says it can boost Australia's climate credentials and recession-proof small
rural towns if it has the right support from the Government.

As Felicity Ogilvie reports from Hobart.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Unlike many of Australia's industries, the forest industry isn't taking a begging
bowl to the Government. The National Association of Forest Industries doesn't want cash to
revitalise the sector.

The organisation's chief executive, Allan Hansard, says if the Government can change the way the
industry is regulated, the private sector can deliver both profits and carbon storage.

ALLAN HANSARD: We are talking about $19-billion worth of new investment in rural and regional
Australia, 16,000 new jobs which is really important going into a time when people are talking
about high unemployment. We can actually create new jobs here.

But also on the environmental side, we must remember that by 2020 our industry can offset round
about 20 to 25 per cent of Australia's emission abatement target.

FELICITY OGILVIE: The Government is listening. Mr Hansard says the forest industry has been in
negotiations with Canberra since August.

The Forestry Union has also been lobbying. The CFMEU's Michael O'Connor says his workers have seen
the $6.2-billion promised to the car industry and they want their share of government support.

MICHAEL O'CONNOR: Where do we fit into this picture? Where is the support for our industry and I am
sure the Government is contemplating it but what we are saying is let's get on with it. Let's roll
up our sleeves.

Let's bring employers, the union, the Government together. Let's draw up a plan about how we can
value add more in this country. How we can export more. How we can have more import replacements
and let's get the economy ticking. Let's defend jobs, let's see some job growth in regional

FELICITY OGILVIE: The industry plan that's gone to the Government is almost 50 pages long. It
details new ways of taxing investors, using trees as carbon storage and the potential to turn wood
waste into electricity.

The forest industry's Allan Hansard says there is a potential for seven per cent of Australia's
power needs to be met by wood waste in 2020. But there's a catch - the forest industry needs the
Government to declare burning wood waste a green energy.

ALLAN HANSARD: At the moment the Government is working on the national renewable energy target
scheme which is pulling together what was called the old EMRIT schemes and also pulling together
the state renewable energy schemes into one and what we are asking the Government for is a
recognition of the use of wood waste in that scheme.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Allan Hansard wants the Government to change the tax rules to encourage more
long-term investment in the plantation industry. He says it takes 40 years for trees to grow big
enough to use as sawlogs but the current tax system rewards 20-year investments which favour
shorter term pulpwood plantations.

ALLAN HANSARD: We are not getting the investment in plantations that are for sawlogs, sawn timber
so we need to increase the investment there so we become less reliant on imports from overseas.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Judith Ajani is a forest economist at the Australian National University. She
agrees that there needs to be a new approach to the forest industry.

But Ms Ajani says there's also a need to treat native forest differently from plantations.

JUDITH AJANI: When we put the two resources into an industry policy, we get a mess basically
because we essentially are keeping on giving out subsidies and commercial incentives to the native
forest part of the industry which competes again the plantation part of the industry in most

And so we get an incoherent industry policy and that is essentially the path Australia has been
travelling now for many decades and we need to move out of that policy frame and look at an
industry policy based on processing plantation resources and a conservation policy, looking at what
native forests can do for the environment and carbon.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Australia's most controversial timber industry project has also been part of
forestry sector's lobbying. The union's Michael O'Connor says the Government has been asked to
support Gunns' plans to build Australia's biggest pulp mill in Tasmania.

MICHAEL O'CONNOR: We understand there is a process that is still being gone through at the moment
for the environmental assessment. We assume that it will be ticked off. We think it is best
practice environmentally this pulp mill and if it gets ticked off, the Government will support it.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Gunns' final federal approvals are due in January. The company is still trying to
get finance for the $2.2-billion project. A spokesman from the company says it hasn't asked the
Government for any financial support.

ELEANOR HALL: Felicity Ogilvie reporting.

Healthcare restructure needed for baby boomers: report

Healthcare restructure needed for baby boomers: report

The World Today - Thursday, 13 November , 2008 12:30:00

ELEANOR HALL: Aged care groups are calling on the federal and state governments to urgently
restructure the healthcare system to cope with an expected explosion in demand for services from
baby boomers.

A new report shows that the majority of people aged between 55 and 65 don't have enough
superannuation or private insurance to pay for their future healthcare needs.

And the Aged Care Association of Australia says this will put a massive strain on the public
healthcare system. It's now calling for more government funding for long-term and community care.

Jennifer Macey has our report

JENNIFER MACEY: Baby boomers make up a quarter of Australia's population and in a few years these
five million people are expected to leave the workforce. The older the boomers get, the greater
their healthcare needs will be.

Rod Young the chief executive of the Aged Care Association of Australia is a baby boomer himself.
He says his generation is in denial.

ROD YOUNG: For most of us baby boomers, you really haven't had to think too much about hospitals
and care and services and therefore it can be ignored and as well, we can live a lot longer than
our parents. I mean 60 is now the previous 40.

JENNIFER MACEY: This state of denial has left most baby boomers woefully underprepared for their
future healthcare costs. A new report by the consultancy arm of Fujitsu Australia New Zealand has
found that only one million baby boomers have private health insurance.

Jeffrey Smoot is the industry director for Health Solutions at Fujitsu. He says most of the 6000
people surveyed said they won't be able to afford medical expenses in the future.

JEFFREY SMOOT: Actually their spending it on themselves. There is very little of superannuation
being considered for ongoing healthcare and considerations for future lifestyle issues.

Very little of the money is actually being donated back to charities. Very little is being left
aside for their own family and their children. They are basically spending it on themselves in the
short term without any future consideration.

JENNIFER MACEY: He says the current financial crisis means there's dwindling superannuation funds
and even less money to put aside for healthcare costs. Mr Smoot's says that will place an even
greater burden on the public healthcare sector.

JEFFREY SMOOT: So it really raises the question on the sustainability of the current model. It
raises questions around how do we incent GP's to really start looking at more preventative measures
versus treatment. How do we look at community and long term care service provision? How do we focus
on chronic disease? What are some of the different funding mechanisms that could be put in place
that will actually incentavise that shift from treatment to prevention and preservation?

JENNIFER MACEY: The aged care sector says governments are also unprepared for the predicted
explosion in the older population.

The Aged Care Association's Rod Young says the entire healthcare system needs to be radically
restructured. He says there should be less focus on acute and hospital care and more funding for
prevention and long term and community care.

ROD YOUNG: Japan is already at 20 per cent of their population over 65 years of age and what has
been happening there in quite a significant way is a restructuring of their older people to
actually provide services to their other older people who need care.

We need to have a really strong focus on technologies. There is a whole raft of assistive devices
that you can put into people's homes for monitoring which will assist them to stay in their home
for a lot longer, in a safe, secure and quality environment.

JENNIFER MACEY: And it's not just the potential patients who are ageing. Healthcare providers say
they're struggling to fill vacancies left by an ageing workforce.

Diane Ball is the CEO of the Australian College of Health Service Executives.

DIANE BALL: Roles for example, the average age of nurses is around about 50 years of age and
clearly that has huge implications for service delivery. The baby boomers issues relate very much
to the customers of the health sector, but as well as the health service providers.

JENNIFER MACEY: The groups say there's an increased urgency for governments to act with five
million people about to retire this means less taxable income and less revenue while at the same
time an increased demand on services.

ELEANOR HALL: Jennifer Macey with our report.

Fairfax CEO questioned over pay rise

Fairfax CEO questioned over pay rise

The World Today - Thursday, 13 November , 2008 12:22:00

ELEANOR HALL: And let's go now to another lively shareholders' meeting.

In Melbourne, Fairfax CEO David Kirk faced some angry journalists at the media company's annual
general meeting.

Journalists wanted to know why Mr Kirk has just given himself a pay rise of nearly 24 per cent when
he was citing cost issues to cut 116 editorial positions at the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and
The Sun Herald.

Shareholder activist Stephen Mayne called on Mr Kirk to resign.

Well, Bill Bainbridge was at the meeting for the ABC and he joins us now.

Bill, there has been a lot of publicity about the salary of the chief executive David Kirk, did he
defend his pay increase at the meeting today?

BILL BAINBRIDGE: He certainly did. He made several points. He said that his salary is not high and
the salary of the executive is not high compared to other similar companies. He said that the
salaries were dependent on the company hitting certain performance targets and he also made the
point that senior managers at Fairfax had had their base salaries frozen in this financial year.

Now the remuneration package was put to a vote. It was defeated by a show of hands but the 91 per
cent of the proxy votes that came in in favour of the remuneration package so David Kirk's salary
increase is quite safe.

ELEANOR HALL: Now Fairfax journalists were making their presence felt at the meeting. What did they
have to say?

BILL BAINBRIDGE: Yes, several used their shareholder status to ask questions. They are angry that
David Kirk has never addressed staff about the job losses and they are also angry about the size of
his package while flagship papers are losing editorial staff. They say that executives earn more
than the Federal Cabinet and that is out of all proportion for a newspaper company.

One journalist who was there was Michael Bachelard of the "Sunday Age" and I asked him about his

MICHAEL BACHELARD: Well, we have just been through a redundancy round where 550 people were lopped
off this company including about 14 per cent of the working journalists and you know, photographers
and so on.

At the same time we see the remuneration report gives the chief executive, David Kirk, a 23.8 per
cent pay rise to $3.41-million.

Now we have calculated that at the top sort of pay threshold that you can expect as a Fairfax
journalist at $115,000 that that buys 30 journalists and if you count his co-CEO Brian McCarthy in
there, you could buy 50 top quality journalists for this company.

And we are really asking the question, what is of more value to this company? A three and a half
million dollar pay packet for the chief executive or 50 top quality journalists?

ELEANOR HALL: That is journalist Michael Bachelard from the Sunday Age. So Bill was that view about
shedding jobs at Fairfax shared by other shareholders?

BILL BAINBRIDGE: Well, shareholders didn't direct, address that directly but one shareholder I
spoke to was Stephen Mayne, the well-known shareholder activist. He is more concerned about the
fall in the share price and about the large number of acquisitions that Fairfax has made recently
and about the failure to grasp some online opportunities.

He wasn't so concerned about the job losses. I spoke to Stephen Mayne outside the meeting.

STEPHEN MAYNE: I think the reality is they have to cut costs because it is just the new reality, so
sad as it is, they do have to lose hundreds of staff and that had to include more than 100

But equally, they should lose the CEO. They are paying him $3.4-million a year. He has gone on a
failed acquisition binge. They have got two CEOs at this company. They should put Brian McCarthy in
charge of the whole thing and they should save shareholders three and a half million a year by
getting rid of the chief executive, David Kirk.

ELEANOR HALL: That is shareholder activist Stephen Mayne and Bill Bainbridge at the Fairfax AGM in

Qld Govt Indigenous funding falls short by $12m report

Qld Govt Indigenous funding falls short by $12m: report

The World Today - Thursday, 13 November , 2008 12:34:00

ELEANOR HALL: Now to Queensland where a leaked Government report reveals that the State Government
has been underfunding Aboriginal councils to the tune of $12-million.

Some Indigenous leaders say their councils have been forced to rely on alcohol sales to make up the
difference and enable them to pay for essential services and they're opposing the Government's
plans to remove the liquor licenses.

They say that the leaked Government-commissioned report confirms that they've been set up to fail.

But the State Government insists that it does provide appropriate funding and argues that the
leaked report paints an incomplete picture of the situation.

In Brisbane, Annie Guest reports:

ANNIE GUEST: Aboriginal councils have long suspected the two year old report confirms their claims
about underfunding. But the Minister for Local Government, Warren Pitt explains that the
Government-commissioned report is confidential.

WARREN PITT: It was a matter of financial discussion in Cabinet and documents of that nature go to
Cabinet and they are covered under that process.

ANNIE GUEST: The parliamentary bells warned him of Question Time and possibly another opportunity
to talk about the now leaked review of funding of Indigenous councils.

The coordinator of the Regional Organisation of Councils of Cape York, Kym Jerome scored a copy of
the report this morning. She says it shows a $12-million shortfall.

KYM JEROME: Major finding was that these Indigenous councils are underfunded. Currently, at that
point is, was then at $24.6-million and it was determined that $36.8-million was required.

ANNIE GUEST: The Minister doesn't deny the figures, but argues funding also comes from other areas
of government.

WARREN PITT: The report paints an incomplete picture. It concentrates on the State Government
financial assistance grants. Those assistance grants are very important components for councils but
we also support councils in many other ways on top of the SGFA. Now that combined package has gone
from $27.7-million up to $49.8-million which is an increase of 40 per cent.

ANNIE GUEST: Do you think the State Government is giving councils the appropriate amount of

WARREN PITT: I think we are and I think that I do think that as time unfolds, we will find out what
the efficiencies are through the programs we've got in place to assist councils to better operate
themselves and if there are further shortfalls, that is a matter that will have to be addressed
into the future.

ANNIE GUEST: Kym Jerome acknowledges there may be other money for Aboriginal communities, but she
says the 11 Cape York councils don't see it.

KYM JEROME: Well, council doesn't always get that funding. That funding is run by those
departments. It doesn't come into council coffers in most cases.

ANNIE GUEST: One council struggling to balance the books is Aurukun. It claims it is not
compensated for its low rate base, or the additional social services that mainstream councils don't
have to provide.

Aurukun is fighting a legal battle against the Government to keep its revenue-producing alcohol
license. The chief executive John Bensch says there's not enough money for basic maintenance.

JOHN BENSCH: Government is giving us, unfortunately, just enough money to fail. The amount we get
at the moment is 1.1. We need at least $4-million to take care of all the services.

ANNIE GUEST: What sort of effect have alcohol restrictions had on the council's bottom line?

JOHN BENSCH: It is really major because there is lot of conditions been imposed upon councils so
previous we determined to contribute to expenses of the communities so the profit we had on the
tavern, we actually ploughed back into the community.

ANNIE GUEST: Over the years there have been concerns in some councils about misappropriated funds
or mismanagement of funds. Can you see that some people might think it is a good thing to restrict
funding to Aboriginal councils?

JOHN BENSCH: Er, I can see that there is the possibility of that but that again, it is all about
lack of funding. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

ANNIE GUEST: From next year, the council will receive half a million dollars in compensation, if it
drops its fight to keep its liquor license. The Minister Warren Pitt says Aurukun Council must be
audited if it's close to bankruptcy.

WARREN PITT: It is easy to make a claim but they have to be justified.

ANNIE GUEST: The councils are hoping to discuss the report with the State Government.

ELEANOR HALL: Annie Guest reporting from Brisbane.

Afghan schoolgirls injured in acid attack

Afghan schoolgirls injured in acid attack

The World Today - Thursday, 13 November , 2008 12:38:00

ELEANOR HALL: Now to a horrific attack on schoolgirls in Afghanistan.

Several young girls were sprayed with acid while they were on their way to school and they are now
recovering in a Kandahar hospital. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but a local
politician says she believes it's the work of the Taliban. Analysts say the attack is a function of
the increasing lawlessness in Afghanistan.

As Paula Kruger reports.

PAULA KRUGER: A group of 15 teenaged schoolgirls and their teachers were on their way to school
dressed in full burqas when they were attacked by two men on a motorbike.

Dr Mohammed Daoud Fahad from Kandahar Hospital.

MOHAMMED DAOUD FAHAD (translated): Unknown people on motorbikes in front of the school gate threw
acid over some of them and they were brought to the hospital. As most of them were wearing burqas
they were only slightly injured.

PAULA KRUGER: He said six girls needed treatment, two of them who were sisters suffered serious
acid burns.

The governor of Kandahar, Rahmatullah Raufi says two suspects have already been arrested and
reassured parents that their children were safe.

RAHMATULLAH RAUFI (translated): We are taking this very seriously. This kind of incident should not
happen again. They should continue attending schools. We are paying serious attention to put an end
to such incidents.

PAULA KRUGER: No one including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack but Safia
Siddiqi, a female member of parliament from Kandahar province has told the BBC she believes it is
the work of the Taliban.

SAFIA SIDDIQI: The Taliban want to control ideas and the people of Kandahar and my impression is
that if they can do that in Kandahar then unfortunately they can repeat it in other provinces. That
is my concern.

PAULA KRUGER: Insurgents in southern Afghanistan have been handing out leaflets warning parents not
to send their children, both boys and girls, to school. In some areas teachers have been attacked
and even killed and school buildings burnt down.

Attacking girls with acid isn't as common in Afghanistan as it is in other parts of South Asia
according to Matthias Tomczak, the Australian convenor of the Support Association of the Women of
Afghanistan or SAWA.

MATTHIAS TOMCZAK: Of course acid attacks are incredibly violent and distressing but in Afghanistan
it is much more common that the girls are killed rather than attacked with acid and even teachers
are killed so the situation in the country is that it is absolutely lawless. There is no authority

I just came back from Kabul last week and the people I stayed with said, you cannot move around as
a Westerner because you will be kidnapped and a ransom will be asked and it is, there is just no

PAULA KRUGER: Is it getting worse?

MATTHIAS TOMCZAK: It is absolutely getting worse and the people actually say that one of the forces
that actually are working against a solution are the foreign troops because they can't distinguish
between Taliban and civilians and often hit civilians and people are afraid of them.

And they say it is absolutely a mistake to support the Karzai Government which is the most corrupt
government they have had for a long, long time while the democratic forces that could actually
change the situation have to be on the run from the warlords.

PAULA KRUGER: Matthias Tomczak says his organisation is limited to supporting women's and girl's
education in Kabul because it is far too dangerous to venture into other parts of the country.

ELEANOR HALL: Paula Kruger reporting.

Funny fruit now legal in European markets

Funny fruit now legal in European markets

The World Today - Thursday, 13 November , 2008 12:46:00

ELEANOR HALL: While the world comes to grips with the crisis in the financial markets, Europe has
been tackling a crisis in its fruit markets.

Fruit sellers have been campaigning against what they describe as ridiculous rules and regulations
covering the size and shape of fruit and vegetables. But in a victory for common sense, European
bureaucrats have now decided to dump the rules

As Stephanie Kennedy reports from London.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: For years the European Union has been mocked for its rules and regulations
covering fruit and vegetables. Fruit markets are banned from selling curly cucumbers, knobbly
carrots, bendy bananas or underweight kiwi fruit.

Every year 20 per cent of perfectly edible produce across the EU is thrown away. Mike Cooper is a
farmer in central England and he says the rules cover size, shape and skin colour and he says the
amount of fruit and vegetable each farmer has to discard varies from year to year.

MIKE COOPER: Sometimes a grower could have most of his, sometimes he might have 20 or 30 per cent
which is unfit for packing.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Twenty years ago the rules were introduced to ensure common standards across
Europe but it has been described as euro madness and officials in Brussels now agree. They have
decided to scrap the regulations preventing oddly shaped fruit and vegetables from being sold in

Michael Mann is the spokesman for the EU Agriculture Commissioner.

MICHAEL MANN: The consumer will have more choice and can opt for cheaper stuff if they like because
let's face it, these things taste the same whether they are knobbly or not.

Secondly, there will be no waste because, you know, we have been seeing cases where stuff is being
thrown away in the past because it doesn't look right and that is completely wrong we're in an era
now where food prices are high, why the hell are we throwing things away?

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: And he says as the spokesman for agriculture, he has copped a lot of flak over
this issue.

MICHAEL MANN: I have spent the last four years dealing with headlines about bendy cucumbers and
oversized, undersized kiwi fruits and god knows what.

So yes, it has been a cause of much criticism towards the European Union and let's be frank, that
is also a factor in why we are getting rid of it but the main reason is because we just think there
should be less red tape and this is not the sort of thing that needs to be regulated at European
Union level. This should be left up to the trade.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Supermarkets believe consumers will be the winners. Justin King is from one of
Britain's largest supermarket chains, Sainsburys.

JUSTIN KING: It will allow us to buy more of the crop. That is good news for farmers. It will allow
us to offer better prices to customers and of course many customers are doing much more cooking now
and just because fruit is a little bit knobbly and ugly, doesn't mean that it is perfectly good for
cooking so it is good news all round I think.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: And shoppers in London support the move.

SHOPPER: I was always used to growing them in the garden and we used to use whatever came up. I
mean they were usually all misshapen ones but they taste a lot better than the washed ones, don't

SHOPPER 2: We are all different shapes and sizes. Why should it be any different for your food?

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: In London this is Stephanie Kennedy reporting for The World Today.

Ponting stung by tactic criticism

Ponting stung by tactic criticism

The World Today - Thursday, 13 November , 2008 12:50:00

ELEANOR HALL: As cricket tours go, Australia's trip to the subcontinent wasn't a roaring success.
Not only did the world champions lose the trophy, but they returned home to questions about Ricky
Ponting's ability to captain the team.

But at a book launch this morning, the captain defended himself and revealed how much he's been
stung by the criticism.

Simon Santow was there for The World Today.

SIMON SANTOW: When Ricky Ponting left for India his first child, daughter Emmy, was just a few
weeks old. And by his own admission she's been about as friendly to the Australian captain as
cricket commentators have been since Australia surrendered the series in India a few days ago.

RICKY PONTING: I think I am as foreign to her as she is to me at the moment but just to get home
and see the smile on her face and see the smile on Rhianna's face has made things a bit better over
the last couple of days.

SIMON SANTOW: Australia's cricket public has high expectations of its national team. And when that
team found the going tough in India, there were always going to be questions asked.

Ricky Ponting's decision to employ a combination of spinners and part-timers to get through the
overs faster and thereby avoid a fine or a suspension, brought tensions out into the open.

CRICKET COMMENTARY: Well, what has been going on in the last 40 minutes is unbelievable. What is
Ricky Ponting doing?

Ponting is just completely lost the plot it seems to me. I'd love someone to explain what the hell
is going on out there.

SIMON SANTOW: The captain today showed again how the questions have stung.

RICKY PONTING: The fact that some people would come out and say that I put myself above the team
has been the thing that has annoyed me the most to tell the truth.

You know I don't mind people sitting back and saying things about the tactics that I might employ
in a day's play. That is what commentators and commentary is all about but when they would infer
that I would be putting myself ahead of my team and my teammates and the chance of pushing for a
result in a game, that is pretty hurtful.

So that has been probably the hardest thing. As I have said, anybody that knows me and knows the
way that I play my cricket would hopefully say that I'm on the other end of the scale than that.

SIMON SANTOW: In the past cricketers have complained that the game's administrators have been slow
to back the players.

But Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland took the opportunity today to give Ponting some
heartfelt support, in his own diplomatic way.

JAMES SUTHERLAND: One thing I always note, at times of cricketing controversy, is that such passion
and emotion is a sign of the strength of the relationship between this great game and the
Australian public.

An elite cricketer and in particular the captain of the top-ranked side in the world, undertakes
his daily work in front of an audience of millions.

Sometimes a billion or more are picking up the vision from the 25 or so television cameras that are
typically at a cricket ground. Imagine putting up with that scrutiny. Imagine going about your
daily job with an audience that big watching your every move live.

SIMON SANTOW: He says Ponting is already Australia's most successful captain and an unselfish one
at that.

JAMES SUTHERLAND: He is a player who has always put the team first and he has never measured
success by personal statistics. Any suggestion that he put himself first ahead of the team last
week in Nagpur is completely off beam and can only come from someone who does not know or
understand him.

As a captain he has more than just an outstanding record. His inclusive and instinctive leadership
style sees him held in the highest regard by his teammates.

SIMON SANTOW: Retired Test spinner Stuart MacGill played under Ponting and believes key tactical
decisions are made by more than one person.

STUART MACGILL: One of the things that is really upset me, not just on the recent tour of India but
over the last sort of 18 months, two years, is that everybody knows that the captain is the focal
point, you know, for the team as far as media and it is appropriate for a captain to take
responsibility for the behaviour and performance of his team, but that doesn't mean that he is
completely to blame for it.

Let's not forget that in this instance, the drama has all unfolded because of the over rates. Now,
Rick is not a bowler and I know, you know, being a bowler, we have been guilty of having slow over
rates for quite some time.

I think, you know, the entire team has, you know, vocalised the fact that they all accept
responsibility for this issue.

ELEANOR HALL: That is former Australian test player Stuart Macgill ending that report from Simon