Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Labor’s forest policy would help secure jobs and protect wildlife

via WA Conversation Council

Western Australia’s peak conservation group has welcomed commitments to overhaul the native forest logging industry from Labor Leader Mark McGowan.

Conservation Council director Piers Verstegen said “Labor’s forest policy recognises that the current logging industry is not sustainable, and needs a complete overhaul to protect jobs and prevent wildlife extinction.

“In particular, removing exemptions from wildlife protection laws that apply to native forest logging could help prevent the extinction of endangered forest species found nowhere else on Earth.

“Native forest logging is pushing numbats, cockatoos and other endangered wildlife towards extinction, with the industry operating outside wildlife protection laws and with no effective environmental regulations.

“Labor’s policy also recognises that Western Australia could be benefiting from millions of dollars in income by ending logging of native forests and instead generating carbon credits.

“Both of these commitments by WA Labor could be game-changers for the WA forest industry.”

Independent candidates in the Western Suburbs have already made strong commitments to ending native forest logging, and conservation groups have also congratulated the Greens for releasing a comprehensive policy to deliver a sustainable timber industry.

Mr. Verstegen said “There is nothing sustainable about the current native forest logging industry in WA, and the few jobs left in the industry are neither secure nor sustainable.

“Native forest logging is losing money and is in decline, with sawmills only kept open to supply government contracts for low-value railway sleepers.

“Clear-felling of Karri forest to woodchip 600-year-old forest giants destroys our natural heritage, provides few jobs, and competes directly with sustainable farm forestry.

“Labor’s plans to overhaul forest management demonstrate that there is a better way forward that could see our forests protected and create sustainable jobs in forest management and a new carbon economy.

“Conservation groups have rejected the draft Forest Management Plan released by Environment Minister Bill Marmion last year. This plan could see increased destruction of forests and fails to address the structural problems facing the logging industry.

“Western Australia’s forest conservation groups will continue to campaign for an end to native forest logging and a complete transition to sustainable farm forestry” concluded Mr. Verstegen.

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