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Forest & Wood Communities Australia has lodged a complaint to the Australian Press Council following an appalling hatchet job on the industry published in The Monthly.

We have also complained directly to the editor and provided a detailed critique to outline dozens of issues with the author’s work which appears to be nothing other than fawning support for the timber industry’s most strident opponents.

In the essay, perspective or objectivity take a back seat to outrage and sneering contempt as author Paddy Manning carries out a lazy, predictable, unimaginative agenda-driven assault on the industry.

FWCA took time to wade through Manning’s “essay” to produce a detailed critique which identifies a multitude of misleading statements and outright falsehoods.

The critique is central in a submission to media regulator the Australian Press Council to complain about the standards of objective journalism which we believe the article has breached.

It also accompanied a letter to the editor at The Monthly in which we asked that action be taken.

“It would have been easy to ignore the “essay” given how few people appear to be aware of it, but the more we leave these unjustified attacks unanswered, the more traction they get,” said FWCA Managing Director Justin Law.

“The author appears to be another in a long line of ideological crusaders who are easily seduced by narrow-focused anti-forestry propaganda dressed up as scientific fact.

“They are not interested in contributing to positive environmental outcomes because they refuse to objectively engage with genuine forestry experts to learn the whole story.

“If they did, they would report the immense amount of work and cost that goes into restoring the forests and adhering to the precautionary principles laid out under environmental law.

“They would highlight the efforts that go into minimising the risk of harm to native fauna in supplying natural timber products, or that just four trees in 10,000 are harvested and regenerated in scattered areas to reduce environmental impacts on the whole forest estate.

“They would also point out the alternatives to wood sourced from heavily regulated, world-certified Australian forests are plastic, concrete or timber imported from countries where there is genuine concern for forest health.

“Instead, all they are doing with these biased attacks is further damaging the credibility of objective journalism and ecological science.

“Perhaps it’s time these media crusaders surprised us all by examining corporate activism and its exploitation of dubious environmental issues to peddle outrage and dupe gullible Australians into funding their multi-million-dollar operations. That would be a story in the public interest.”

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