Emergency alert

Opposition condemns Labor’s forest logging decision with concerns for regional jobs in forestry industry

Trees in the great southern. (Deanna Corrieri)

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.

The Labor Government is on the receiving end of backlash from the Opposition after Premier Mark McGowan’s historic announcement earlier this week that native logging will be ended by 2024.

The Opposition has expressed concern that the cut down of regional jobs in the industry and the impact it will have on communities supported by the forestry sector have not had full consideration.

They have also cited the long-term damage that the decision will have on communities where hundreds of jobs were created, saying the industry was being managed in a sustainable manner with consideration of its environmental impact.

An expendable workforce doing no damage

“If you live and work in agriculture or forestry, you are expendable in the eyes of the Labor Government – this is a kick in the guts for a sustainable long-term industry in regional WA,” said Shadow Forestry Minister Mr Steve Martin.

“If you live and work in agriculture or forestry, you are expendable in the eyes of the Labor Government – this is a kick in the guts for a sustainable long-term industry in regional WA.”

The decision was viewed by the Opposition as an opportunity for the Government to use their majority to make environmentally friendly choices before an upcoming election.

“I certainly don’t recall any policy before the last State election saying a future Labor Government would end native forestry in the South West,” stated Opposition Leader Ms Mia Davies.

“Let’s be clear, there has been no logging of old growth forest since 2001, the only logging that occurs in native forests now is of replanted trees that are sustainably managed under a long-term Forest Management Plan.”

Testing public attitudes to native forestry

The Opposition was not made privy to the results of a $56,000 survey commissioned by the Environment Minister and paid for by the taxpayer that was designed to find out public attitudes to native forestry.

“She has refused to make the results of the survey public but clearly it has given the Government the political answers it was designed to deliver.”

“She has refused to make the results of the survey public but clearly it has given the Government the political answers it was designed to deliver,” Shadow Environment Minister Mr Tjorn Sibma said.

The Opposition believes that the government is putting their own political image before the families and businesses that rely on the forestry industry, and that communities are going to be directly impacted by the governments changes within the forestry industry.

The lack of transparency that the government has shown towards stakeholders in the industry is another factor that has been cited by the Opposition, while the forestry industry has highlighted feeling there is a sense of betrayal through the lack of warning of the announcement.

Importing materials from international markets

The Opposition have stated the new policy would result in having to import materials from international markets, and as the industry itself is already facing a shortage of materials this would only add to the problem.

“This Labor Minister has failed to honour the commitments she gave in Parliament to negotiate with all stakeholders, including industry stakeholders who she has now blindsided.” said Mr Simba.

$350 million expansion of softwood industry to fill the job gap

“This is a historic moment for the protection of our magnificent forests and the creation of sustainable WA jobs,” contrasted Premier Mark McGowan.

“By transitioning more of the forestry industry to sustainable timber products like softwood, we are investing in WA’s future – supporting the construction and forestry industries, and our regional communities.

“This will not only ensure this important asset can be enjoyed for its beauty, Aboriginal cultural heritage, and ecotourism for years to come, but it is an important step in the fight against climate change.”

Despite the concern for a loss of jobs, Labor have made it clear they are investing in other options which will in turn create jobs in the industry, only on a more sustainable path.

“The McGowan Government’s record $350 million expansion of WA’s softwood estate, will create and secure local jobs, and ensure a strong, sustainable timber industry for the future,” said Forestry Minister Dave Kelly.

“Protecting this vital asset is critical in the fight against climate change.”

“Protecting this vital asset is critical in the fight against climate change.”

Read more like this:

WAFA campaign director celebrates historic forest logging decision

Nannas fighting for the Great Southern’s native forests

WA south-west native forest survey now open

Videos

The latest

Denmark Shire Council is set to renew the production lease on Ocean Beach lime quarry.
Denmark Shire Council is set to renew the production lease on Ocean Beach lime quarry.
A Denmark man aims to walk for 48 hours non-stop this weekend to raise funds for Telethon.
A Denmark man aims to walk for 48 hours non-stop this weekend to raise funds for Telethon.
WA won all divisions and Albany Vikings members punched well above their weight as WA representatives at the 2021 AFL Masters Tournament in Perth.
WA won all divisions and Albany Vikings members punched well above their weight as WA representatives at the 2021 AFL Masters Tournament in Perth.
The Shire of Denmark was unsuccessful in it grant application for funding towards the Ocean to Channel Recreation Precinct, leaving the development in uncertain terrain.  
The Shire of Denmark was unsuccessful in it grant application for funding towards the Ocean to Channel Recreation Precinct, leaving the development in uncertain terrain.  

Latest Issue