Familiar Faults in Ongoing Forest Failings

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South West Greens MLC Diane Evers has denounced the Forestry Minister’s response to criticism of the Forest Products Commission (FPC), describing it as an unacceptable example of the McGowan Government’s native forest negligence.

Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) spokesperson for forestry, who is seeking a repeal of the Forest Products Act during this term of Government, cited a lack of financial return over the near-two decade period of FPC operation as a plain fact that has been swept aside by a government avoiding the tough issues of reform.

Despite multiple scandals at South West timber mills in 2019, the McGowan Government has continued to trumpet claims of financial and sustainable viability, contradicting FPC-funded reporting (Jacki Schirmer, 2017).

In response to ongoing criticism from experts and environmental advocacy groups, the Augusta Margaret River Times reported on Friday, February 14 that Forestry Minister Dave Kelly is now beginning to refuse correspondence from such corners.

According to the publication, former Shire of Augusta-Margaret River councillor Peter Lane has said revaluations of FPC assets have functioned to make FPC profits look greater than reality and has subsequently been informed by Minister Kelly that correspondence should stop.

After three years of asking questions in parliament to similar effect, Ms Evers believes this outcome flies in the face of both financial reason and public interest.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“I will continue my ongoing efforts to see the Forest Products Act repealed in this term of Government — the time for change is now.”

“Once again we are seeing a response from the McGowan Government that prioritises a steady ship one year from an election, instead of acting in the best interests of Western Australia.

“There is no mandate to continue logging native forests in Western Australia — only fear within this Government to address the issue of job transition and progressive change.

“The economics do not stack up, the public interest argument does not stand up and the size of the industry is so small that those within it could be sensibly transitioned to sustainable timber plantations.

“The truth is, for virtually every dollar made by the Forest Products Commission, a dollar is spent.

“Revaluations of FPC assets have negated any previous profits derived from earlier valuations, now deemed to be out dated or — in my assessment — incorrect. (Standing Committee on Estimates and Financial Operations, 2019)

“For a body that is set up to manage an industry, it is ridiculous that FPC follows unsustainable practices with excessive timber contracts leading to the scandalous practices we learned about in 2019.”

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

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