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Canberra urges calm amid mixed messages

Reporter: Michael Vincent

PETER CAVE: The Federal Government says it's trying to stay calm and keep a balanced response to
the swine flu scare.

Amidst reports there's been a run on public supplies of antiviral drugs, Federal Health Minister
Nicola Roxon says the Government is looking to work with GPs to stop any inappropriate stockpiling.

That comes as Queensland's chief medical officer this morning urged people to stock up on food.

Internationally, cases of the virus are rising and another country, Peru, has banned flights from

But ahead of a widespread five-day shutdown of its economy, Mexican officials maintain that the
rate of infection is levelling off.

Michael Vincent reports.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Fairfax newspapers are reporting that a Government pandemic plan suggests people
stockpile enough food and water for two weeks.

JEANETTE YOUNG: It's not really stockpiling food and water.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Queensland's chief medical officer Jeanette Young on ABC local radio in Brisbane
this morning.

JEANETTE YOUNG: All it is suggesting is that people keep at home sufficient stocks to try and
decrease their need to go out.

So, as you'd be aware, and all of your listeners be aware, we've seen a number of people at the
airport that we're recommending go home and stay in isolation as much as possible.

Now you can only do that if you've got food in the house.

MICHAEL VINCENT: But the Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has played down the need to make such

NICOLA ROXON: Well, we're not quite at the stage that we're calling on people to do that.

Obviously if people want, as part of their ordinary shopping, to make sure they've got some things
that have long-life products, that doesn't cause anybody any harm to do that.

We, of course, as the Government would immediately advise if there were any recommendation to step
that process up.

We currently don't have any confirmed cases; this hasn't been declared internationally as a

And we need to be able to step through the processes in a sensible way, and we're not quite at that
point yet.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Stockpiling of antiviral drugs is becoming a problem, with reports pharmacists
around the country are running out.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon says the nation's chief medical officer is working to stop the
run on publicly available supplies.

She spoke to ABC local radio's Jon Faine in Melbourne.

NICOLA ROXON: Well, we are organising to speak today with the doctors and the pharmacists.

The chief medical officer is considering working with GPs, whether there is a way we need to change
the guidelines to encourage use only for the most severe of cases or risky of cases...

JON FAINE: Shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, Minister.

NICOLA ROXON: Well, John, I think that's a pretty unconstructive way to look at it.

We are dealing with a virus that is changing in its nature, it's a new virus, we don't know how
it's passed.

It's not going to be possible for it to be contained internationally, and we are taking all steps
to be ahead of the game.

Of course, with these antivirals, it's important to emphasise the stockpiles that the Government
holds, the 8.7-million courses, has not been used.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Yesterday the Government activated the thermal body scanners at airports around
the country to detect if people have fevers.

But experts say the virus can be carried by people for days without showing symptoms.

NICOLA ROXON: They will only identify people who have a raised temperature, and some people will
have a raised temperature for completely unrelated reasons, or they'll have garden variety flu.

But it means there's an opportunity to then talk to them about ways to contain that disease in case
it turns into something that is more problematic.

And of course we'll have some people that might be at an early incubation stage who can't be

But I think most people would want us to be taking all precautionary steps that we can.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Around the world the number of people with the virus is rising.

(Excerpt from public health ad)

VOICEOVER: Flu viruses can spread if you don't catch your coughs or sneezes hygienically...

MICHAEL VINCENT: Some governments are turning to public health ads

(Excerpt from public health ad)

VOICEOVER: Catch it, bin it, kill it. Call 0800...

MICHAEL VINCENT: For some countries, not everything is going to plan.

In Switzerland a 19-year-old infected student who'd recently returned from holidaying in Mexico,
had to be readmitted to hospital.

They'd been released early by mistake.

In Latin America, the numbers of countries trying to isolate themselves from Mexico is growing.

Peru has now joined Ecuador, Cuba and Argentina in banning flights from Mexico.

Peruvian President Alan Garcia.

ALAN GARCIA (translated): Swine flu is alarming and scaring the world, it frightens families.

I think that if we all take the proper precautions, the necessary measures, we can defeat the
danger of contagion and spreading of the flu.

MICHAEL VINCENT: As Mexico is set to enter a five-day shut down of the non-essential parts of its
economy, its President Felipe Calderon went on national television to urge calm.

(Felipe Calderon speaking)

'Now that we are going to remain in our homes,' he says, 'it is a time to share with our children;
to explain to them in simple terms without fear that we are working to end this bad situation. That
with the cooperation of adults and children it's important to stay inside, to avoid as much as
possible contact in public places and take all the precautions we have spoken of. '

He says, 'It's a time to share with our children our brothers and sisters and parents and do things
that you've put off around the house.'

PETER CAVE: Michael Vincent reporting.

Mexico says spread of swine flu slowing

Reporter: Kim Landers

PETER CAVE: Mexico's Government is voicing optimism that the swine flu outbreak has slowed there.

Mexico's Health Ministry says the caseload is slowing and it's even revised the official death toll
down from 168 to 12, although the suspected number is still much higher.

Meanwhile a five-day shutdown of the country will begin in a few hours' time in the hopes of
slowing down the spread of the virus even more.

Our North America correspondent Kim Landers joins us now from Mexico City.

Kim, is there reason behind the Government's optimism or is it bravado?

KIM LANDERS: Well, the Mexican Health Secretary Jose Cordova says the number of new cases has
levelled off, and the death rate has been nearly flat for several days. So, he says, that that's
the cause for optimism.

He also adds, however, that the next few days would be critical in figuring out whether or not the
virus was truly on the decline here in Mexico.

But you've got to, sort of, you know raise an eyebrow over some of these figures.

After all, the Health Ministry, which had earlier said, you know, 168 people were believed to have
been killed by swine flu here, now is only confirming 12 of those deaths, and they're not saying
how many are suspected.

The World Health Organization , of course, is pointing out they're taking a more cautious note
about whether or not this virus has actually peaked, compared with the Mexican authorities.

And they say look, figures go up and down, that's to be expected, and that in Mexico, they expect
to see a continued mixed picture.

PETER CAVE: It's one thing for the Government to say that, but I suppose it's important that the
people believe them. Do the people you've been speaking to believe the worst is over?

KIM LANDERS: Well, when you look around Mexico City, you see a couple of really different pictures.

Today, for example, hundreds of people were lining up at a free clinic near the historic centre of
the city, all to have their temperatures and symptoms checked by health professionals and doctors.

Now, there were some people in that crowd, you know, they were coughing and they were hacking, and
you know - they looked like they had a cold, or some sort of flu.

And of course they're worried that they've got swine flu.

Other people are just you know panicking a little bit, I guess. They've gone along to that clinic
just to be checked out.

And yet they don't even seem to be taking some of the basic precautions, like wearing a face mask,
for example.

Then around other parts of the city, there's a lot of people getting around without these face
masks. But you're still seeing people, particularly on public transport - buses and taxis - all
wearing masks and gloves.

So whether or not people believe the worst is over is sometimes a little difficult to judge. Some
people will tell you that they don't believe anything the Government is telling you, and yet
they're standing there and they're not even wearing a face mask.

PETER CAVE: It's easy enough to issue a presidential decree saying the country will close down, but
in practical terms, how are they going about it?

KIM LANDERS: Well, while the traffic is much lighter here in Mexico City, and the smog's lifted a
little bit.

You know, daily life does grind on. And tomorrow was already a public holiday anyway, for Labour
Day, and so government offices would be shut.

But the President Felipe Calderon says he wants everyone across the country to stay indoors for the
next five days.

Now some of the small business people I spoke to today, they were not going to follow that decree.
Store holders at one of the big flea markets here say that they've got to make a living; that the
swine flu outbreak has hurt them already.

So they're going to be open. So I suspect we'll see quite a few people out and about again
tomorrow. Not as many as normal, but you know, life goes on.

PETER CAVE: Our correspondent Kim Landers, live on the line from Mexico City.

Budget revenues take another dive

Reporter: Emma Griffiths

PETER CAVE: Well the bad Budget news just keeps rolling in here in Australia.

The Treasurer Wayne Swan has confirmed that the nation's bottom line will be hit by the largest
revenue losses in living memory.

The ABC understands that Government revenue will drop by $200-billion over the next four years, and
that unemployment will peak above eight per cent next year.

Mr Swan says the deficit is 'solely the result' of the global recession and the consequent fall in

But the Opposition says the Government's reckless spending program must share the blame.

From Canberra, Emma Griffiths reports.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The Treasurer has once again been the bearer of bad Budget tidings.

Wayne Swan has shared the figures with his state and territory counterparts, telling them Budget
revenue is diving.

WAYNE SWAN: There's been a revenue write-down because of the global recession between the Budget
last year and February of about $115-billion. That's an enormous amount of money.

It's equivalent to about four years of family payments and childcare benefits.

And because of slowing growth, and because the global recession has got even worse, there will be
further revenue write-downs in the Budget.

They are very substantial, probably the largest in living memory.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: It's understood the further write-downs will take the losses to $200-billion over
the next four years.

The economy will contract by a further 0.5 per cent next financial year, causing unemployment to
peak above eight per cent, up from its current level of 5.7 per cent.

Mr Swan says Australia's feeling the impact of global forces.

WAYNE SWAN: There are very substantial revenue write-downs which are producing a temporary deficit.

One hundred and fifteen billion dollars between Budget last year and February this year and further
to come - solely as result of the global recession and the revenue write-downs that come from it.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: But the Opposition blames the Government's actions too.

Spokeswoman Helen Coonan.

HELEN COONAN: Clearly the figures are of a magnitude that are quite alarming.

But it hasn't all been due, of course, to the global financial crisis.

And the Government simply can't hide behind the fact that they've faced some economic challenges
for what appears to be rivers of red ink that we're going to see in the Budget.

They have to be responsible for just exorbitant spending and there has to be prudent limits.

They've certainly made the deficit worse with the number of reckless and irresponsible spending
decisions, and it simply beggars belief that they'd now seek to blame it all on the global
financial challenges.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Senator Coonan says the Government's stimulus payments have been wasted money,
because most of it has been saved, not spent.

Some of those payments are still landing in the bank accounts of taxpayers this month.

Wayne Swan argues that the bottom line would be much the same under the Coalition.

WAYNE SWAN: Mr Turnbull and Mr Costello and the Liberals know that they would have to borrow to
cover that temporary deficit.

But they've got this bizarre $177-billion con job, where they pretend they wouldn't have to borrow
to cover these revenue write-downs.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Earlier this week the Treasurer revealed that the Budget would forecast a weak
start to the recovery late next year, or early in 2011.

That would be followed, he said, by two years of strong growth.

The Opposition says it wants to see the detail.

HELEN COONAN: What I think we have to do is to see what story the Government is going to tell, what
credible path back to economic sustainability will the Government tell us in the Budget.

The second Budget, that is the Rudd Government's second Budget, will be judged on what it does to
protect and create jobs, and whether it includes a credible plan to prevent Australia's public debt
from simply spiralling out of control.

PETER CAVE: The Opposition's Finance Spokeswoman Helen Coonan ending that report from Emma

Boss takes massive pay cut as Macquarie profit dives

Reporter: Peter Ryan

PETER CAVE: Australia's biggest investment bank, Macquarie Group, has become the latest to post a
hefty fall in profit because of the global financial crisis.

Once known as the 'millionaires factory', Macquarie's full year profit has been more than halved to
$871-million, making the first profit fall in 17 years.

The investment goliath has also announced a $2.5-billion write-down in assets, but it maintains
it's in a strong capital position to ride out the downturn.

But Macquarie executives will be paying the price for the profit dive, with the chief executive
Nicholas Moore taking a massive pay cut.

Here's our business editor Peter Ryan.

PETER RYAN: Today's 52 per cent profit dive represents much more than a symbolic turning point for

After 16 years of largely spectacular results that spawned the 'millionaires factory' reputation,
the savage reality of the global financial crisis has finally hit with a vengeance.

But Macquarie's chief executive Nicholas Moore is hoping to ride out the storm.

NICHOLAS MOORE: Market conditions continue to be challenging and that makes short-term forecasting
extremely, extremely difficult.

We maintain a cautious stance as a conservative approach to the funding and capital.

PETER RYAN: Macquarie's full year profit has been hit by write-downs, impairments and equity losses
worth $2.5-billion, an outcome that would be the envy of banking bosses in the United States and

But ever optimistic, Nicholas Moore is banking on more stable conditions in the year ahead.

NICHOLAS MOORE: The full year 2010 will be different from 2009, we think, in a number of respects.

Number one, we expect there to be fewer one-off items.

Obviously, last year is totally unprecedented for us in terms of the one-off items that we're
looking at, particularly in terms of write-downs and impairments.

We expect, given that we expect a higher compensation ratio to be more consistent with historic
levels going forward.

Plainly this year, it's very low, reflecting those one-off items. We expect it to be more
consistent with historic levels going forward.

PETER RYAN: This time last year, Macquarie's full year profit hit a record $1.8-billion.

Now the shortfall will come directly from the pockets of Macquarie staff and executives through a
pay restructure where share allocations will replace direct bonuses.

And it's starting at the top, with Nicholas Moore's package falling from almost $27-million a year
ago to just under $300,000.

NICHOLAS MOORE: Obviously remuneration is an issue that is being looked at globally at the moment,
looked at... and there's new trends coming through across the world, and we've changed, we've made
changes with our system that are consistent with our long-standing goals.

What are the changes?

Well, from an executive director viewpoint, 50 per cent of their profit will actually be retained
and invested in Macquarie shares for a vesting period of three to seven years.

PETER RYAN: That's something of a reckoning for Nicholas Moore, who might well be reflecting on how
his predecessor Allan Moss managed to make $33-million in one of his final boom time years.

But Mr Moore is now focussing on the medium term and how to prosper in rocky markets where no one -
including Macquarie - is game to call the bottom.

NICHOLAS MOORE: We still remain cautious.

Lots of uncertainties out there continue, so we're not actually calling the end of the crisis at
this stage.

PETER RYAN: Macquarie has cash and liquid assets worth more than $30-billion, well up on last year.

And Nicholas Moore told analysts at this morning's briefing he's interested in raising more capital
to strength the group's balance sheet.

NICHOLAS MOORE: We don't want to be at a position where we feel that we have any degree of

So we've always run it on a very well capitalised basis, on a very well-funded basis.

QUESTION FROM AUDIENCE: Has the directional trend changed since last half? I mean, do you feel you
need to be holding more capital at this point?

NICHOLAS MOORE: I think we would see from a prudential viewpoint, it's probably a very sensible
thing to do.

But secondly, from an opportunity viewpoint, we think it's a very, very important thing to do.

We want to be in a position where we're saying to our businesses, who are looking at opportunities,
actually, you can actually be taking that next step. We think that's a very important thing.

PETER RYAN: But Mr Moore refused to comment on speculation that Macquarie is already seeking to
raise up to $1.2-billion to offset today's dismal profit outcome.

PETER CAVE: Our business editor, Peter Ryan.

US says terrorism across Pakistan is on the rise

Reporter: Simon Santow

PETER CAVE: The US State Department's annual assessment of global terrorism has pinpointed a
dramatic surge in terrorism across Pakistan.

The increase there stands in contrast to the overall levels of terrorist attacks.

According to the State Department's figures, they've dropped more than 20 per cent in the last

Simon Santow reports.

SIMON SANTOW: Pakistan is fast gaining an unenviable reputation for lawlessness and as a safe haven
for terrorist groups.

RUSSELL TRAVERS: Pakistan, as you've heard many times over the last several weeks, we've seen the
greatest growth... In the case of the light blue, that's largely Baluch insurgency; that's been
going on for a very long time.

The significant growth has occurred in the Sunni extremist attacks over the last couple of years in
particular. Those are largely in the north-western part of Pakistan; I'll show you in a map here in
a second.

SIMON SANTOW: Russell Travers from the US State Department's National Counterterrorism Center was
briefing the world media this morning on a more than doubling of the number of attacks in Pakistan
in the last 12 months.

And he's pessimistic about the changing methods used by terrorists to make their point.

RUSSELL TRAVERS: The continued adaptation, the tactical adaptation by terrorist groups is of note.
Whereas they may try to use suicide bombers in vehicles, as the security protocols get more
difficult to get around, they may switch to bicycles or they may switch to pedestrians with suicide

If adult males can't get through security, then they may switch to children or women. We saw almost
10 per cent of the global attacks were by women last year, large numbers in Iraq.

SIMON SANTOW: The State Department's acting director for counter terrorism is Ronald Schlicher.

RONALD SCHLICHER: Since September 11th Al Qaeda and its allies have moved across the border to the
remote areas of the Pakistani frontier.

And they're using, of course, that mountainous terrain as a safe haven where they can hide, where
they can train, where they can communicate with their followers, where they can plot attacks, and
where they can make plans to send fighters to support the insurgency in Afghanistan.

Therefore, Pakistan's federally administered tribal areas, FATA for shorthand, are providing Al
Qaeda with many of the benefits that it once derived from the base that it had across the border in

SIMON SANTOW: Pakistan's Government is under pressure from the West to re-establish control over
the Swat Valley and other regions where the Taliban and extremist elements are exercising

There's been fighting this week in the Buner District, a region only about 100 kilometres from
Pakistan's capital Islamabad.

This man says its ordinary residents caught in the middle.

VOX POP (translated): The situation is very tense in the area. There is bombing from the Government
as well as from the Taliban.

We cannot stay in. Our Government should bring a man with whom we stand together.

We will welcome all the positive things, whether it is from the Government, or from the Taliban

Why they are causing problems for our women and kids? What for?

We want peace, whether it comes through the Government or the Taliban.

SIMON SANTOW: Analysts say the situation in Pakistan is very delicately balanced.

Malou Innocent works in foreign policy at the Washington-based think tank, the Cato Institute.

MALOU INNOCENT: Really, the context of the conflict is a knock-on effect of the war in Afghanistan.

There what you see are the command headquarters of Mohammed Omar, Gobodan Haqmentiar (phoenetic),
Jalalludin Haqani and many of these high-level commanders that are directing the insurgency within

Now, of course there are blowback effects to this, and there has been a spawning of militants who
are now attacking the very Pakistani state that has been assisting these militants since the early

Really what we see now, through the State Department's assessment, is that these very groups that
the Pakistanis once assisted are now, sort of having a blowback effect and have boomeranged
essentially against Pakistan's own interests.

So it's not too surprising - what really is just troubling is what the end state will be.

PETER CAVE: Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute in Washington ending
Simon Santow's report.

Fiji suspended from Pacific Islands Forum over election date

Reporter: Rachael Brown

PETER CAVE: Fiji's military government has ruled out setting an election date for this year,
earning it suspension from the 16-nation Pacific Islands Forum.

The Government had until today to set a date, but the military dictator and self-appointed Prime
Minister Frank Bainimarama, says it'll be at least five years away.

He wants to meet with his Australian and New Zealand counterparts, who've refused, given his
defiance of the ultimatum.

International commentators say the deadline was inappropriate in the first place.

Rachael Brown reports.

RACHAEL BROWN: Fiji's self-declared Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama warned Pacific island leaders
in January not to hold their breath waiting for Fiji elections.

He said it would be a long wait and today he stuck to his guns, defying an international ultimatum
to set a date for this year or have Fiji suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum

FRANK BAINIMARAMA: I think we made it quite clear that is not going to happen.

There'll be no election until September 2014.

RACHAEL BROWN: He told Sky News it was set after the president abdicated the constitution, so he'll
be sticking to that, and extending the country's state of emergency.

FRANK BAINIMARAMA: We want this calm to continue for a while.

The emergency regulation was brought entirely for the media censorship, to ensure that there's calm
in the nation.

There's no incitement.

RACHAEL BROWN: The World Today contacted a number of Fiji residents, all were reluctant to comment
on the country's political climate, including the former prime minister Laisenia Qarase, who was
deposed of at gunpoint in 2006.

In the Sky interview, Commodore Bainimarama adds in 2006 he was pressured by Australia's Defence
Chief Angus Houston.

FRANK BAINIMARAMA: He says it didn't happen. Well it did happen. I was in Sinai and he woke me up
early in the morning to tell me, 'Don't ever do anything that will pit my troops against yours.'
The implication was, it was a threat

RACHAEL BROWN: He wants to meet with Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has flatly refused.

KEVIN RUDD: This is the bloke who just abolished freedom of the press in Fiji. This is a bloke who
just sent independent judges, including those from Australia, packing. This is a bloke who just
suspended the constitution of Fiji.

We invited Fiji to announce an election timetable within a reasonable timeframe. Not only did they
not respond to that, but they then went in exactly the reverse direction.

RACHAEL BROWN: A spokesman for New Zealand's PM John Key says Commodore Bainimarama has had ample
opportunity at forums in Niue last year and Port Moresby in January for discussion, and says all
the forum nations are united in their condemnation.

However, academics are criticising the stonewalling.

The University of Auckland's Dr Hugh Laracy.

HUGH LARACY: These people who are criticising him, I think are being naive and not recognising the
practicalities of his difficult situation.

RACHAEL BROWN: What would you have suggested they adopted instead of this ultimatum?

HUGH LARACY: Get closer to him and talk about it, and be rather less ready to apply doctrinaire
solutions to a very significant problem.

Current politics hasn't just come out of nowhere. You can see this going right back into the 19th

RACHAEL BROWN: Dr David Neilson from New Zealand's Waikato University says Commodore Bainimarama is
being boxed into a corner he'll find difficult to get out of.

DAVID NEILSON: If we had taken his project at face value and given more constructive support to
facilitate the re-establishment of a robust election system, we may have furthered the cause of a
return to democracy more effectively then what we've done.

Which is basically to make it more and more difficult for that to happen as the regime gets bogged
down with the effects of economic sanctions, and as it also lacks the kind of technical expertise
to create a robust election system.

So he ends up having to sit in an indefinite position where he needs to make democratic reform, but
that's difficult, but he wants to ensure that the reform occurs in a way that the SDL (Soqosoqo
Duavata Ni Lewenivanua Party), and Qarase in particular, can't become the government again.

PETER CAVE: Dr David Nielsen from Waikato University ending that report from Rachael Brown.

Textile industry cries help amid economic crisis

Reporter: Sue Lannin

PETER CAVE: Earlier in the program we heard about the ever increasing Budget blowout.

Well, amongst those looking to blow it out even more is Australia's manufacturing industry.

The textile, clothing and footwear industry is calling for more than $800-million in Government
assistance over five years to keep the sector afloat.

Manufacturing continues to be in the doldrums and a private sector survey has found that activity
is at a record low.

Output fell in all states and is down for the 11th month in a row.

Finance reporter, Sue Lannin.

SUE LANNIN: Local manufacturers are doing it tough.

For years they have been fighting cheap imports from China, and many, such as clothing company
Pacific Brands, have had to move jobs offshore.

Now, they are also contending with the global financial crisis.

Phil Butt is the head of shoe manufacturer J Robins & Son and the president of the Footwear
Manufacturers Association.

PHIL BUTT: It's a pretty tough time, and whether it's a mix of the total global financial crisis,
or whether it's the normal day-to-day issues that say, Australian manufacturers have competing with
particularly the low-labour cost countries, that side of things is certainly not getting any

So yeah, look, it's pretty tough. It's pretty tough.

SUE LANNIN: The experience in footwear provides a snapshot across the industry.

Just yesterday specialist fabric supplier Melba Textiles went into liquidation, leaving 170 people
out of work.

The latest survey of manufacturing from the Australian Industry Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers
shows production fell to a record low in April - the 11th contraction in a row.

Australian Industry Group chief economist Tony Pensabene says it's bad out there.

TONY PENSABENE: Oh, conditions are very tough for the manufacturing sector.

We're right down the bottom of the decline in manufacturing activities, so losses are occurring in
production, in sales, jobs being fragile in terms of holding on to them.

So conditions are tough, but we're hopeful that this is the low point for the sector in terms of

SUE LANNIN: Michele O'Neill from the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union wants government
assistance of more than $800-million over the next five years.

She says the sector is still waiting for a response from the Federal Government on a review of the
industry conducted last year.

MICHELE O'NEILL: That's a program that is needed to be put in place urgently.

This is not something that the Government can sit on their hands. It's not an enormous amount of
money, if you look at the range of stimulus packages that have been put in place.

And it's much more sensible to spend money that actually will save jobs, rather than have to deal
with the huge cost of jobs that are lost.

SUE LANNIN: Phil Butt also wants to see targeted assistance.

His company is managing the storm, but he's still had to lay off staff.

He thinks up to half a billion dollars over five years would help sustain the industry.

PHIL BUTT: Certainly like to see a program in place that's backed up with some solid funding.
There's lots of detail in how that could be put forward, or what the size of that budget could be.

And we're probably talking somewhere between about $400-million and $500-million over a five year
period is something that would keep the current industry probably in place as it is.

SUE LANNIN: Well, how's your company doing?

PHIL BUTT: We're hanging in there.

We've broadened our, the sort of products that we're supplying to the market. We're certainly
concentrating on more niche products, we're spending a lot of time and money in new, innovative

Certainly, gone are the days where we have big long production runs.

Our order sizes are certainly smaller, but we're broadening our customer base.

SUE LANNIN: And have you had to lay off any staff?

PHIL BUTT: We certainly have, yeah, yeah.

We have, over the last three to four months, we have lost some staff.

We have to try and make our company as solid as we possibly can, and unfortunately there's no point
in making shoes for people that, or making shoes that we can't sell.

PETER CAVE: Phil Butt, the president of the Footwear Manufacturers Association ending that report
by Sue Lannin.

Alice divided on uranium exploration

Reporter: Sara Everingham

PETER CAVE: In the town of Alice Springs a fierce debate has erupted over the prospect of a uranium
mine about 25 kilometres to the south.

The Northern Territory Government has given the go ahead to a Cameco-Paladin joint venture to start
uranium exploration at the deposit known as Angela.

Supporters of the project say it's just what's needed to boost the Alice Springs economy.

Opponents though, say that a uranium mine close to the town would pose huge health and
environmental risks.

Sara Everingham reports.

(Sound of car driving on dusty road)

SARA EVERINGHAM: The Angela deposit lies along a dusty road south of Alice Springs.

The landscape is mostly rocks and red sand.

Isabelle Kirkbride has become familiar with this area.

ISABELLE KIRKBRIDE: It's used for, by tourists, to go and see the Yuaninga (phonetic) rock hole,
and to go to the other communities that are out this way.

SARA EVERINGHAM: A Cameco-Paladin joint venture has been given a license by the Northern Territory
Government to begin exploring for uranium here.

Isabelle Kirkbride is part of Families for a Nuclear Free Future, just one of several vocal groups
that's formed in response.

ISABELLE KIRKBRIDE: Well, it's only22 kilometres from the centre of town, and there's always a
strong southerly blowing, like there is today. Often there is a strong southerly wind, so that
blows straight into town.

SARA EVERINGHAM: So you're worried about dust?

ISABELLE KIRKBRIDE: Yep, we're worried about dust. In the exploration process, dust will, it will
be difficult to suppress dust, we believe.

And we're also very concerned about contamination to our water basin, because this is in the water
basin, the water catchment basin, this site.

SARA EVERINGHAM: So underneath us then, is that what you're saying?

ISABELLE KIRKBRIDE: Yeah, underneath us is our town's drinking water.

SARA EVERINGHAM: But there has been drilling done here before, is that right?

ISABELLE KIRKBRIDE: Yeah, there has been drilling done here before, in the 1970s. And I think time
has told us that any uranium activity is very dangerous.

STEFAN STANDEN: I think it's a great deposit.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Stefan Standen is the manager of the exploration project for Cameco-Paladin.

He says the Angela site is now much more economically viable.

STEFAN STANDER: We've seen significant increases in the uranium price, and the world outlook for
uranium as an alternative source of energy has, than coal, has improved dramatically.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Cameco-Paladin is preparing to start drilling. It's just waiting for its mine
management plan to be approved by the Northern Territory Government, and Stefan Stander believes
that's not too far away.

As for concerns about dust, he says that's all been taken into account, and that several drilling
methods will be used to make sure there's no risk to the residents of Alice Springs

STEFAN STANDER: We won't be generating any dust that contains uranium in it.

SARA EVERINGHAM: And he says the drilling will stop well above the aquifer.

STEFAN STANDER: I think if we go back into the history, and we look at the exploration that's
already been conducted, it clearly shows that none of that exploration had any impact on the town
water supply.

(Sound of drills)

SARA EVERINGHAM: Gorey and Cole Drillers has the drilling contract at the Angela site.

Viv Oldfield's the director.

He says the project is just what Alice Springs needs.

VIV OLDFIELD: We had 25 odd blokes that were a bit precarious on whether they'd have work or not,
and we couldn't really get them back, because we didn't know if we were really going to have work
for them.

So it would give them an opportunity obviously to sort of shore up all their commitments they've
got with housing and family and all their loans, etc.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The Alice Springs Mayor Damien Ryan agrees the exploration brings clear benefits
for the town.

DAMIEN RYAN: Alice Springs need to create industry, create work, for the longevity of Alice

The reaction of whether it's a uranium mine or not will be a decision made by other parties.

I mean, these sort of things have to go through the environmental agencies put up by both the
Territory Government and the Federal Government, and that's where the decision will be.

I support growth in Alice Springs.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Cameco-Paladin believes more people in Alice Springs approve of its project than

It commissioned market research that's found 52 per cent support it and 46 per cent are against.

The research is contested by those who oppose the exploration. On the streets of Alice Springs
opinion is divided.

Roy Winther has lived in Alice Springs for 11 years.

ROY WINTHER: I think that if all the safeguards are followed, I think it will be fine, because a
lot of the world has been using it.

You talk about the major accidents that have happened have been with reactors that are over 50
years old.

So I don't think I'm panicking as much as other people.

SARA EVERINGHAM: But local business owner Nathan King disagrees.

NATHAN KING: The environment in Central Australia is so pristine and I simply don't see how trucks
and trains and equipment and blokes flying in and out of town, how that could not have a negative
effect on what we love so much about living in Alice Springs.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Cameco-Paladin says it plans to explore at the Angela site for two years and
there's a 50-50 chance a uranium mine could be developed at there, although any mine would be
another five to seven years away.

The debate around uranium in the Alice is set to continue for some time yet.

PETER CAVE: Sara Everingham reporting.

Green group await EIS on Olympic Dam expansion

Reporter: Nance Haxton

PETER CAVE: BHP Billiton is about to release the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on its
proposed expansion of the Olympic Dam in South Australia from an underground mine to an open cut

The planned expansion will also mean a significant increase in copper and uranium production.

Greens groups have raised a number of concerns about the project, with many saying that it will
cost Australian jobs, as the radioactive copper concentrate from the mine will be exported for
processing in China.

BHP Billiton is not commenting until after the official release of the EIS.

Nance Haxton reports.

NANCE HAXTON: At almost 4,000 pages it is reputedly one of the largest documents ever printed in
South Australia.

BHP Billiton's Environmental Impact Statement will detail the extent of the proposed expansion of
its copper, gold and uranium mine at Olympic Dam, more than 500 kilometres north of Adelaide.

The company says the project is significant, encompassing not only the construction of the open
pit, as opposed to its present underground operation, but also the related infrastructure such as
the airport, a desalination plant and an accommodation village for up to 10,000 construction

One of the big questions to be answered this afternoon when the document is released is whether the
company has moved away from the South Australian Government's preferred option of processing on
site the dramatically increased volume of ore it is set to produce.

Olympic Dam is already Australia's largest underground operation, and contains the world's
fourth-biggest copper deposit and the largest known reserve of uranium ore.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has travelled to Adelaide for the presentation of the Environmental
Impact Statement.

He says that if approved, the mine will become the largest open cut mine in the world, bringing
with it a range of environmental problems.

SCOTT LUDLAM: They have just some incredible obstacles.

They'll be moving a million tons of rock a day for four years before they even get to the ore body.

That's going to cost them somewhere in the order of 1.5-million tons of diesel.

It's going to radical increase the greenhouse gas emissions of South Australia and blow the state's
Kyoto targets.

So I think there's going to be some pretty hard questions to ask the company as to how they can
stack it up.

NANCE HAXTON: Isn't this a good project for Australia, with the increased jobs that it will bring
with it?

SCOTT LUDLAM: Well, not necessarily and I think that's where the fine print's going to be. There
are some indications that they plan on doing all of the processing overseas in China.

So as well as exporting uranium to nuclear weapons states we'll also be exporting jobs to other
parts of the world.

NANCE HAXTON: He's also concerned about the increased water that BHP Billiton will need for the

SCOTT LUDLAM: The company plans to consume an extraordinary 162-million litres of water every
single day between hitting the Great Artesian groundwater much harder than they have in the past,
and also setting up a very energy intensive desalination plant.

This mine, in all, will consume upward of 59-million tons of water a year. And in the driest state
in the country I think that's got to be of great concern.

NANCE HAXTON: A spokeswoman for BHP Billiton says the company will not comment on the Environmental
Impact Statement before its release.

David Noonan from the Australian Conservation Foundation says his main fear is that most of the
skilled jobs will be shipped off shore if the radioactive concentrate is sent to China for

DAVID NOONAN: Let them develop and process all of the copper product in South Australia.

There would be far more jobs in that than there is in exporting a bulk radioactive copper
concentrate to China.

And let them put the effort into SA as a copper venture, and not expose the company and South
Australian community - the mine project and Australia overall - to all these nuclear risks that
would follow from fuelling nuclear risks off a uranium quarry development.

NANCE HAXTON: The public will have 14 weeks to respond to the EIS.

The project cannot go ahead without South Australian Government and Federal Government approval.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett is expected to have final say on the expansion later
this year.

PETER CAVE: Nance Haxton reporting.

Blame game begins after mice gnaw nursing home residents

Reporter: Nicole Butler

PETER CAVE: With the story making headlines around the world, the blame game in full swing in
Queensland today over the horror story of the mice attack in a Darling Downs nursing home.

Two bed-ridden residents were gnawed at by mice in the state run aged care facility.

One victim - an 89-year-old World War II veteran - became critically ill after the Anzac Day

The Queensland Government has been criticised for its handling of the problem and there are now
calls for the Health Minister to be sacked.

In Brisbane, Nicole Butler reports.

NICOLE BUTLER: Julie's bed-ridden father is one of two residents at the Karingal Nursing home at
Dalby who's been gnawed at by mice.

JULIE: He had blood on his, under his fingernails and on his hands where they presume he'd tried to
move them away.

But dad has no memory of any of this happening; the state he was in on the Sunday morning - the
Sunday and the Monday - he doesn't remember anything from those days, which is good.

NICOLE BUTLER: The 89-year-old World War II veteran had been bitten by mice around the head and
throat and he became critically ill after the attack.

JULIE: By the time I got there other family members were there and the doctor had been. So by that
stage he was calm, he was comfortable, they'd given him morphine and he wasn't awake at all.

NICOLE BUTLER: The mice attacks happened on the weekend.

On Tuesday, ABC News reported that the nursing home was being troubled by the plague on the Darling
Downs, yet the Health Minister Paul Lucas says he hadn't heard about the problems until yesterday.

Questions are being asked about that delay.

ANNA BLIGH: Well, I think that's a very good question and the Minister is asking his own staff
that. But let's be clear, the Minister this week has been overseeing all of the requirements to
have us on full alert and fully prepared for what may be a very, very serious outbreak of influenza

NICOLE BUTLER: Premier Anna Bligh defended her Health Minister this morning during the swine flu
update that he'd normally handle.

Ms Bligh was standing by Mr Lucas over the mice attacks amid heated calls for the Minister to be

ANNA BLIGH: I endorse the comments from the Health Minister yesterday. It is not acceptable that
anybody living in an aged care home run by the state should be subjected to this sort of problem.

I look forward to seeing the results of a thorough investigation about what has led to this.

NICOLE BUTLER: Not only did Mr Lucas fail to front the media pack during the daily swine flu
update, he also told ABC local radio that Queensland health district manager Pam Lane was the best
person to talk to.

But during that interview Ms Lane seemed confused about when the mice started to pose a problem at
the nursing home.

PAM LANE: The mouses started to get out of control at a much larger number in April.

INTERVIEWER: Well, the end of February she's saying, and the staff are saying the end of February,
and that's when they pleaded with Queensland Health to be able to set these mouse traps.

They've now been allowed once this has become public.

Was there an argument to actually do that earlier?

PAM LANE: I think we've had a major learning from this that we needed to ramp it up much faster.

NICOLE BUTLER: The State Opposition is blaming the Government for restricting traditional pesticide
treatment of the land adjoining the Dalby Hospital, which houses Karingal

But Ms Lane says there's a good reason for that.

PAM LANE: I'm told that the poison is particularly dangerous, and it's been used on crops in the
Dalby area, but it's particularly dangerous to the environment, and I'm seeking further advice.

NICOLE BUTLER: The gruesome mice attacks have attracted federal attention and the Commonwealth has
also launched an investigation.

The Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot has vowed it will be a thorough inquiry and she hasn't ruled
out taking action against Queensland Health.

JUSTINE ELLIOT: I certainly will have no hesitation in taking further action against the providers
of the home, Queensland Health, and in relation to any future action that may need to be taken,
because I'm concerned for the residents that are there, for their welfare and their safety and for
their health.

And we do have very strict regulatory compliance and regulatory systems in place. That's why I've
launched this major investigation.

PETER CAVE: The Federal Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot ending Nicole Butler's report.

Rare bat on the verge of extinction

Reporter: Di Bain

PETER CAVE: Time's ticking for a tiny bat which resides on Christmas Island.

Latest surveys show there are just 20 pipistrelle bats left on the WA coastal island and
conservationists are calling for help.

They say the micro-bat could be wiped out within weeks and if that happens, it will be the first
time in half a century that an Australian mammal has been lost.

Di Bain reports.

(Sound of pipistrelle bats)

DI BAIN: They're not much bigger than the tip of your thumb and weigh less than a 10 cent coin.

It's thought the delicate bat known as the pipistrelle was blown over to Christmas Island by a
storm centuries ago.

But despite surviving all that, the pipistrelle population is now dying.

MICHAEL PENNAY: People report, you know, 20 years ago, they used to see it flying around in the
settlement, and around town and all over the island.

DI BAIN: Michael Pennay is a bat enthusiast.

He's a zoologist and heads up the Australasian Bat Society.

He says no-one knows why, but surveys show Christmas Island bat numbers started to fall in the

Now there's just a handful left.

MICHAEL PENNAY: The last time it was checked was in January this year, and at that point there was
definitely less than 20 bats believed to be out there on the island.

And if the rate at which there declining is expected to continue, then using the observed declines
up until that point we'd say that the species is likely to go extinct sometime this year; probably
in the first half of the year.

DI BAIN: Do you know what's causing the decline of the pipistrelle?

MICHAEL PENNAY: This is a really tricky one. No-one really knows for sure what's caused the decline
and that's one of the big mysteries about what's happening on Christmas Island.

We really don't know. There's a number of key candidates, but none of them have really been proven.

DI BAIN: When was the last time we lost a mammal or a mammal in Australia?

MICHAEL PENNAY: The last known mammal species to go extinct was a small wallaby that went extinct
about 50 years ago.

And since then, we haven't had anything that's gone extinct.

There's been things that people have been very concerned about, like the tasmanian devils had a big
drop recently.

But the Christmas Island pipistrelle will be the first Australian mammal that's gone extinct in the
last 50 years.

DI BAIN: He wants the Federal Government to fund a captive breeding program before all the bats are

Veterinarian Dr Derek Spielman from the University of Sydney says microbats have successfully been
bred in captivity before.

DEREK SPIELMAN: There are institutions that can breed them, and there are some very experienced
rearers who have got very good success with either rehabilitating injured adults or even rearing
youngsters to be rehabilitated and released.

So the knowledge is there. They are a lot of work and difficult, but it can be done.

DI BAIN: Are they difficult because of their size? They're only tiny, aren't they?

DEREK SPIELMAN: Yeah, they're very small. And yeah, that's one of the main difficulties, especially
with handling; you have to be so gentle, and they are very - they can fly, and their quick. And
they're so fragile, that you must handle them very carefully.

But also their diet being insectivorous, it's not - you have to put a lot of effort into providing
the right diet for them, as far as insects and diversity goes and make certain they don't get
calcium processing imbalances and other dietary problems.

DI BAIN: The Environment Minister Peter Garrett says a working group will report their
recommendations about how to save the pipistrelle next week.

And captive breeding is an option - but it poses many dangers.

PETER GARRETT: Captive breeding has been contemplated.

The difficulties there are that we don't want to jeopardise what might potentially be a very, very
small population of remaining pipistrelle bats in a captive breeding program which frankly fails.

And it's been very, very difficult in the captive breeding trials to catch a related bat species
similar to the pipistrelle in the Northern Territory, which we've put in place straight away.

DI BAIN: Mr Garrett says he wants to ensure there's sound environmental science to back up any
decision he makes to help save the Christmas Island bat.

PETER CAVE: Di Bain reporting.