Parliament plastic straw ban

Greens South West MLC Diane Evers has encouraged anyone concerned about plastic waste to contact their local venues to make changes after she successfully encouraged the WA Parliament to ditch plastic straws forever.

“It is just a small step, but not if we all talk to our local venues about this sort of thing,” Ms Evers said.

In a letter, attached, Ms Evers wrote to Parliament’s catering staff on 28 February noting the automatic supply of plastic straws with all soft drinks served in glasses in the Parliamentary Dining Room. She highlighted the contribution of plastic waste to landfill and impacts on environment and marine life, including water ways, birds and sea mammals.

“I was delighted to receive an email back from the Dining Room Manager stating that they will no longer automatically provide a straw for beverages in the Members Dining Room, Functions, Members Bar and Visitors lounge – rather on request only – and that the Catering Unit had sourced a new straw that is non-plastic and is paper based,” Ms Evers said.

“I congratulate the Parliamentary catering team on being so responsive. Maybe there are other venues and small businesses who would be willing to make changes with similar encouragement.”

The last straw

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN: Mar 22, 2018

Story detailing Diane’s efforts to successfully encourage the WA Parliament to ditch plastic straws forever.

For full details see Diane’s media release here.

Hundreds rally for forest petition

A crowd of more than 200 people converged on Parliament House today to hand over a petition asking the state government to honour its pre-election promise to protect high conservation value (HCV) forests and transition the timber industry out of native forest logging.

Greens Forests spokesperson Diane Evers MLC, who on Thursday will table the petition signed by more than 15,500 people, told the crowd protection of high conservation value forests was crucial.

“We need to stop this slaughter of our forests; it’s the wrong thing to be doing both ecologically and economically. Logging native forests is a regressive and financially irresponsible course for the government to pursue,” she said.

“The community has spoken loud and clear today – they want their forests protected immediately, and the timber industry transitioned to a sustainable model.

“South-West communities see their futures to be in tourism, including forest-based nature tourism and agriculture.”

The petition is one of the biggest to be tabled in the WA parliament this century, with 5000 more signatories than the petition calling for a referendum on Daylight Saving in 2007.

“To have more than 15, 500 people sign this petition is a clear indication of the strong feelings the community has about the government honouring their promise to safeguard our high conservation value forests rather than turn them into low-value wood products,” Ms Evers said.

“I urge the McGowan Government to listen to the community and enact the promises it made in the run up to last year’s election to immediately protect more than 100 forests across the South-West of the State classed High Conservation Value.”

Fact File

  • High Conservation Value forests are those deemed to contain or provide habitat for threatened plants and animals, and they may also provide protection of important water ways; wildlife corridors or Indigenous or European heritage values.
  • The former Gallop Labor Government extensively reviewed more than 100 High Conservation Value forests between Perth and the South Coast in 2002 and then was supposed to move to protect them.
  • But many of these forests, which include recognised pockets of old growth, are still not part of the conservation estate, and worse, many are proposed to be logged this year or within the next three years.

Slithery surprise

Diane visits a farm near the Stirling Ranges. The farmer found this python on his property after clearing large amounts of very old tagasaste.

Native forest logging unprofitable

A new report by the timber industry lobby has confirmed that the logging of native forests in WA is far less profitable, and provides far fewer jobs, than WA’s plantation industry.

The report, ‘Socio-economic impacts of the forest industry Western Australia, commissioned by Forest & Wood Products Australia, found that native forest logging and processing provides less than a quarter of the total jobs in WA’s timber industry, with the vast majority of timber jobs (76 per cent) found in WA’s hardwood and softwood plantation industries.

Greens (WA) forest spokesperson Diane Evers said the report also compared the native forest and plantation industries’ economic contribution using Total Value of Output; Gross Regional Production; and Contribution to Household Income Component of the GRP, finding under each method of measurement, that the plantation and farm forestry industries provided far more benefit to the local economy (at 83-85 per cent of the total economic output of the WA timber industry) than native forest logging.

“Another striking finding in the report is that most people where logging is happening do not see the industry as beneficial to their community,” she said.

“The report found that these communities see their future industries as agriculture and tourism, and that they are not happy about logging trucks on local roads nor the sight of devastated forests.

“I note that the jobs figures relied on businesses self-reporting so are probably a ‘best-case’ scenario.

“Sadly, in WA there still has not been a Government analysis to compare the economic benefits of leaving our native forests standing, including positive flow-on effects water quality and climate, amenity, nature tourism, honey production and regional attractiveness.”

The report can be downloaded from: (http://www.fwpa.com.au/images/WA_Report_Dec2017_Final.pdf . The following notes are provided as a guide.

Jobs (page 19~):

  • The majority (76%) of direct jobs in the WA wood industry are in WA’s soft and hardwood plantations and associated processing, not in the logging or primary processing (including pulping, sawmilling) of native forests.

Economic benefits (page 18~)

The native forest-dependent sector of the WA wood industry contributed just:

  • 6% of the Total Value of Output by the WA wood industry;
  • 16% of the Gross Regional Production of the WA wood industry; and
  • 6% of the Contribution to Household Income Component of the GRP of the WA wood industry.

Local community perceptions (page 66~):

  • “Residents in all logging regions including Great Southern, Esperance and South-West WA viewed the forest industry as having fewer positive effects than farming and agriculture, and more negative effects”;
  • “When views above negative effects were examined, the most common concerns reported about the forest industry were related to road impacts, and landscape aesthetics, with 67% in the Great Southern and Esperance region and 71% in the South West believing the industry had a negative impact on the traffic on local roads”;
  • “The forest industry is not viewed as either being as important an industry as agriculture and tourism, or as having as many positive outcomes as these two other industries”;
  • “In particular, the results suggest a lack of connection by many residents with the industry, with fewer feeling the industry contributed to the friendliness of the local community compared to the agriculture and tourism industries.”