Tuesday, October 16, 2012

WA: Barnett 'Forest Destruction Plan'

Western Australia's forest conservation groups have vowed to coordinate a major public campaign to protect our forests from the huge logging increases signaled today by the Barnett Government.

WA Forest Alliance Spokesperson Jess Beckerling said, “The draft Forest Management Plan (FMP) released today reveals that the Barnett Government is considering huge increases to native forest logging in WA, right when we should be protecting our forests and completing the transition to sustainable plantation industries.

“The document presents a range of scenarios including increasing karri woodchipping by as much as 50 per cent and increasing the logging of marri trees, which are critical for black cockatoos, by as much as 37.5 per cent.

“The Barnett Government has shown its hand: it wants to increase native forest logging despite the industry already being unsustainable and highly destructive.

“Another 10 years of clearfelling and intensively logging our much loved karri and jarrah forests and destroying threatened species habitat to produce woodchips and firewood, is simply not acceptable.

“Our forests need a scientifically robust protection plan that is able to deal with the impacts of climate change and the various threats our forests are facing. Another 10-year plan for logging, clearfelling and poisoning our native forests will be vehemently opposed by West Australians.

“Our black cockatoos, numbats and other forest dependent endangered species are in crisis yet the Barnett Government is planning another decade of clearfelling and intensive logging of their last refuges.

“We have also discovered that behind our backs the Government has been pre-committing our forests to logging companies before the draft Forest Management Plan was even released.

“In an effort to lock in unsustainable logging levels the Government has promised six saw millers up to $57 million in compensation if their log allocation is decreased. And government agencies have been looking for buyers for 800,000 tonnes of logs a year that could be burnt to produce electricity.

“The Barnett Government has some serious work to do to convince West Australians in the lead up to the election that it is a government which listens to stakeholders and the broader community.

“This hasn't been a good start for them on this issue which has a tradition of causing big problems for Liberal Coalition governments come election time,” she concluded.

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