WA Greens Introduce Bill to End Native Forest Logging

South West Greens MLC Diane Evers will introduce legislation to WA Parliament this week to end native forest logging in Western Australia once and for all.

Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) spokesperson for forests, will table the Forest Products Amendment Bill 2020 in the Legislative Council on Thursday as part of efforts towards systemic change in the management of public forests and forest industries.

Ms Evers said she was calling on the WA Labor Government to wind up the Forests Products Commission (FPC) after two decades of total failure to manage native forests.

According to Ms Evers, reforms brought about through the Forest Products Act 2000 (WA) had failed to achieve forest goals, both for the forest industry and forest campaigners.

By removing dysfunctional legislative instruments such as the Forest Products Commission and redefining ‘forest products’, Ms Evers said the WA Labor Government could begin to reverse the damage caused to this precious public asset.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“Native forest logging for commercial gain by the Forests Products Commission must end.

“There has been total failure to manage our native forests, with the FPC unable to protect high conservation value forests, develop the plantation industry, manage the sandalwood industry, or generate profits to the state.

“Forest campaigners have been calling for significant change for many years, as it has become ever-more apparent that old trees are being logged as a result of an illogical methodology used to define old growth.

“Not only have native forest protections been lacking, but the FPC has cheated their pine sharefarmers out of an honest return.

“The FPC has also reaped profit from the sandalwood industry, while allowing native title holders minimal harvest.

“This pattern of failure and environmental destruction has occurred all while the FPC has been returning a significant overall net loss to Western Australians —There has been little or no profit from our native forest timber for some time.

“This Bill represents a step towards a better system for all, achieved through a suite of reforms to modernise management of forests and forestry.

“Native forests are a valuable and irreplaceable source of environmental, economic and social benefits and forest management must address the urgent challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.

“Ending native logging will deliver more to our regional communities and to Western Australia by allowing the WA Labor Government to invest in opportunities such as eco-tourism, honey and bee production, water provision, and carbon credits.

“The time has come to reform the existing system of forest management and remove the Forest Products Commission, by ending native forest logging in Western Australia.”

GET IN TOUCH:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070

Featured Photo: Alex Jenkins – Edith Cowan University

Winds of Change Not Strong Enough: WA Greens

South West Greens MLC Diane Evers has described today’s announcement by the McGowan Government of a feasibility study into the production of wind turbine components in Western Australia as a necessary, though limited, step forward for local manufacturing. 

Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) spokesperson for jobs & trade and regional development, has long-supported the South West Region as a potential manufacturing hub to facilitate the creation of higher-value green jobs, which would also strengthen the appeal of the region as a place to live and work. 

With Western Australia having become renowned for pulling resources out of the ground and shipping to overseas markets, Ms Evers said taking the next step to retain the value of the resources extracted in the state was long overdue.

Ms Evers said she was concerned, however, that information provided by the Government was lightweight in its current form, criticising the Government’s link between a feasibility study and ‘a pipeline of local jobs’ as speculative without a clear timeframe for action.

Ms Evers was supported in her reticence to embrace the announcement by The Greens (WA) spokesperson for Climate Change and Energy, Tim Clifford MLC, who highlighted the McGowan Government’s poor record on renewable energy investment. 

Mr Clifford said the Government’s announcement was encouraging for future energy industries in Western Australia, but called on the Government to provide business certainty in these clean industries by adopting a renewable energy target.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“The McGowan Government is on the right path by pursuing local supply chain opportunities in the renewable energy sector, but I want to see more from this Government in taking this opportunity to invest in the regions – and our future.

“There are a number of areas I would query the Government on with regards to how this pipeline of local jobs and manufacturing will be successfully delivered.

“As yet the Government has given no indication of a timeline, environmental implications, procurement strategies or even a funding allocation for this announcement.

“Impacts that could come from this plan beyond the sphere of business must also be considered – the action group proposed by the Government is notably lacking the input of environmental stakeholders. 

“However, given that existing announcements as part of the WA Recovery Plan have focussed on initiatives such diesel car maintenance and iron ore wagon manufacturing, significant shortcomings remain when it comes to harnessing the power of green energy.

“Utilising Green Hydrogen in local steel production will futureproof Western Australian industry against future carbon pricing, stimulate local job creation and diversify our local economy.

“I am pleased progress is being made in regional job opportunity creation for Western Australia, but until the McGowan Government walks the walk by committing to environmental protections and the adoption of a renewable energy target, these announcements remain piecemeal and lightweight.”

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO TIM CLIFFORD MLC:

“It’s great to see the McGowan Labor Government exploring the jobs of the future – we know all too well that we must invest in renewable energy and clean technologies, and end our reliance on fossil fuels. 

“However, this feasibility study must explore options for local and government procurement, and how we can ensure the global competitiveness of these products by using our renewable resources to produce zero-carbon steel required. 

“Investing in wind turbines is not investment in industries of the future if we ignore how predicted carbon pricing will affect these products. 

“It was also disappointing to see both the Premier and the Minister for Energy spruik the potential for wind-generated energy in the State when time and time again the WA Labor Government has refused to set renewable energy targets; increase investment in large-scale renewable energy for electricity; protect the state from fracking; or hold their fossil fuel mates account for their pollution.”

GET IN TOUCH:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070