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Friday Analysis: Is Premier Andrews dangling a carrot for forestry?

Central Victoria’s first planned burn of 2020 will take place on Wednesday in the first of about 30 burns planned before next season’s fire danger period. Forest Fire Management Victoria will burn 81 hectares two kilometres to the west of St Arnaud at the town’s Tower Track ahead of milder weather conditions. Source: Bruce Mitchell

As has been said time and time again, and again today, there’s only one way to make bushfires less powerful: take out the stuff that burns.

And as Forest Fire Management Victoria chief fire officer Chris Hardman pointed out, planned burning will never be a cure-all, but it is a key part of bushfire preparedness.

It’s a fair point, and a good reason why it should be extended into the forested areas of the state, and elsewhere.

And then, logging contractors had a rare win with the announcement that they will be paid by Vic Forests in line with both their contractual obligations and the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005.

Good for them. But it’s not really a ‘win’; they simply got what the deserved.

Don’t be too fooled. The Victorian Government et al have not had a change of heart.

It has after all, got the CFMEU breathing down its neck on behalf of its members who are employed by the forestry industry.

That’s the same forestry that the Andrews Government wants to shut down by 2030.

Having the CFMEU on side gives organisation such as the FWPA and VAFI a much louder and much needed voice.

Meanwhile in Western Australia, we have the rather odd decision by the WA Government to has placed a 12-month freeze on the logging of “two-tier” karri forests in the state’s wooded South West region.

The decision has been met with obvious celebration from conservationists and a backlash from the local timber industry.

WA’s Forestry Minister David Kelly said the decision was focused on “customer demand”.

The Forest Industries Federation WA says the move was “unnecessary and unwelcome”.

It’s a decision that the FIFWA will need to keep a close watch on.

The future of the WA karri industry depends on it.

The future will also depend on people such as University of Tasmania PhD student Sean Krisanski.

Sean has been recognised 2020 Science and Innovation Award for his research into the development of an ‘arborist’ drone that can take samples from the forest canopy, giving scientists access to samples that until now have not been easily reachable.

Sean and his work, along with research carried out across the country and overseas, will drive the future of the timber industry everywhere.