South West MLC Diane Evers has flagged hypocrisies in the McGowan Government’s Green Jobs Plan, with taxpayer dollars earmarked for conservation while swathes of Western Australian environment is destroyed elsewhere.
Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) spokesperson for forests and jobs, said she welcomed environmental investment from the State Government but that it would continue to be soured so long as tens of thousands of hectares of native forests are logged.
Monday’s announcement of the $60.3 million Green Jobs Plan indicated over 1,000 jobs will be created in conservation, with Environment Minister Stephen Dawson highlighting the WA environment’s “precious assets”.
However, Ms Evers said it was rank hypocrisy for the State Government to spend on conservation while it propped up a dying native logging industry and allowed bauxite mining to devastate Jarrah forests.
42,500ha of native forests has been set aside for logging operations in 2020, with around 16.6 per cent to be cut for low-value timber milling enabled by the Forest Products Commission and mining expansion by Alcoa the biggest culprits.
Ms Evers also expressed concerns at the Premier’s eagerness for conservation and management of the environment to be used as a tool to accelerate development projects.
QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:
“A government that talks ‘green’ on one hand while facilitating the environmental vandalism of our land through native forest logging and mining devastation in our backyard must be called out for its hypocrisy.
“WA Labor says supporting green jobs makes sense and advocates caring for native vegetation, so why does it continue to log native forests?
“With 7,500ha of native forest scheduled to be lost this year alone, this Plan seems like the Government wants credit for cleaning up its own mess.
“It has been demonstrated in Victoria that an immediate end to native logging would save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, so any genuine investment from WA Labor in environmental management must include full protection of these ‘precious assets’.
“Right now, the WA Labor Green Jobs Plan lacks substance and feels more like an example of greenwashing, particularly given the Premier’s inability to talk about conservation without bringing development into the conversation.
“I encourage WA Labor to continue taking cues from the Australian Greens, who released its Economic Recovery Plan months ago.
“But as long as Premier McGowan cosies up to corporate donors in the resource sector and is complicit in propping up a zombified native logging industry, these efforts will remain undermined by the sunk cost of environmental vandalism.
GET IN TOUCH:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070