Monday, August 29, 2011

Protectionism warning as manufacturing jobs go in Australia; CHOGM leaders urged to resist temptation to impose new trade barriers in uncertain world.

BlueScope Steel's announcement last week that it would cut a thousand jobs because of tough economic conditions including the high Australian dollar has prompted calls for the protection of the struggling sector.

But the director-general of the Commonwealth Business Council, Dr Mohan Kaul says rather than being tempted to protect industry, nations should be ensuring their economies are free and open.

Dr Kaul is visiting Australia ahead of October's CHOGM event in Perth and I asked him about the risks of protectionism in this interview for The World Today.

Mental illness link to climate change; child anxiety about catastrophic weather events likened to the Cold War.

A report out today draws a direct link between inaction on climate change and long term social and mental health problems.

The study by the Climate Institute, titled "A Climate of Suffering: The Real Cost of Living with Inaction on Climate Change", points to increased depression, anxiety, substance abuse, suicide and self harm in the wake of recent natural disasters in Australia.

The report also warns continuing catastrophic weather events are creating anxiety and insecurity for children at levels not seen since the Cold War.

It claims one in ten children of primary school age showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after Cyclone Larry in 2006.

Professor Ian Hickie of the Brain & Mind Institute, who will launch the report in Sydney today, says regional and remote communities are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

Listen to my interview with Professor Hickie which was broadcast on this morning's AM program.