McGowan Forsakes Forests In Foul Federal Fix

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Native forests, critically endangered species and climate change mitigation are all at risk due to WA Labor’s renewal of the state’s Regional Forest Agreement (RFA), according to The Greens (WA) forests spokesperson Diane Evers.

Ms Evers has been joined by Australian Greens senator Janet Rice in condemning the decision, after the stroke of a pen rolled-over last century’s destructive logging laws.

11 forest vertebrate species have been raised to ‘endangered’ or ‘critically endangered’ categories in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia after signing the original RFAs in 1999.

This brings total number of endangered and critically endangered species to 24, with none lowered in categorisation during this time.

Ms Evers has previously supported The Wilderness Society’s campaign to allow WA’s RFA to expire due to these negative environmental outcomes during the RFA’s 20-year term,

Ms Evers has also called for the Forest Products Commission (FPC) to be disbanded and an Environmental Court or Tribunal to be established in aid of protecting the rights of nature.

Comments attributed to Diane Evers, South West Region MLC:

“I am appalled at Mark McGowan’s decision, in alliance with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to renew the awful Regional Forest Agreement.

“There has been 20 years of evidence to demonstrate how the RFAs have failed.

“Premier McGowan’s decision has come despite federal Labor’s commitment not to renew state RFAs without thorough reviews of climate and biodiversity science.

“With the Premier admitting a new agreement was rushed through prior to a federal election, a fair scientific outcome for the sustainable management and conservation of our native forests has been prevented.

“Right now, forests home to native and endangered animals are logged without adequate federal environmental oversight, while Western Australian forests are perversely managed by the Forest Products Commission.

“I am anxious about the FPC’s need to increase revenue by irresponsibly increasing logging after its financial results for the past five years showed a cumulative operating loss of nearly $6 million.

“A government agency, tasked with the conservation and management of forest products, should not have competing profit-related goals and should not exist.

“With more than 60% of regional West Australians opposed to logging of native forests, more people are understanding forests’ value to the ecosystem.

“This is particularly important with regards protecting or regenerating forests to combat climate change.

“I have recently spoken in parliament about the need for an Environmental Court of Tribunal and throughout the remainder of this term will be seeking to enshrine the rights of nature in law.

“This is another act of environmental capitulation by the McGowan Government, after it dismissed the Environmental Protection Authority’s greenhouse gas emissions guidelines in March.

“When it comes to protecting our environment, the major parties are both the same and are ignoring the community – only The Greens will defend native forests from logging, protect endangered species from extinction and take real action to address climate change.

Comments attributed to Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens forests spokesperson:

“This rollover is the first by a Labor government.

“While federal Labor talks tall about strengthening federal environmental laws, the WA Labor Government is allowing precious native forests to be destroyed for another 20 years.

“The Regional Forest Agreements give loggers guaranteed supplies of timber from our forests and exempts them from federal environmental laws.

“They were set up last century to protect the environment and give certainty to the industry.

“They’ve done neither.

“They are destroying our native forests, pushing threatened animals to the brink of extinction, and are failing to provide a secure future for regional communities.

“It’s time to shift wood production to 100% sustainable plantations from the current 88%.

“We can do it, we just need political will from the major parties.”

Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070

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