Australasia's home for timber news and information

Friday analysis: No smoking gun in WA to explain decision to drop native forestry

Mark McGowan WA Premier

The government in Victoria, and the timber industry as a whole in that State and beyond should be keeping a close eye on developments this week in Western Australia.

Gavin Butcher, who previously worked for the Forest Products Commission (FPC) for 20 years, recently obtained documents after a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

Forest Industries Federation WA CEO Adele Farina has said that unlike the fishing industry, which has been invited to comment on the government’s proposal to reduce demersal fish take, based on science released to the public, the native timber industry received no advance notification from government of its intention to close the industry, were not provided an opportunity to comment and to this date, is still waiting on the government to release the “scientific evidence” supporting its decision.

Mr Butcher told the ABC he was hoping the FOI documents would the reveal scientific data which shows the effect climate change and logging was having on the forests of Western Australia.

Well, it seems the reason why that “scientific evidence” has not been forthcoming is now quite clear.

There isn’t any, other than a government spokesperson quoted by the ABC as saying the science showing climate change was having is well established and cannot be ignored.

So, there isn’t any.

According to Mr Butcher: “There was no smoking gun to explain the government’s decision — in fact it really showed nothing.”

The ABC states the obvious that some members of the forestry industry believe the decision to ban native logging, announced in September 2021, was politically motivated to win green votes.

Will this change anything in WA? It should. But the next election there is years away.

In Victoria the situation is very different. There is an election on November 26.

The State Government in Victoria must now explain the science behind its decision to shut down the native timber in that State by 2030.

It must be forced to explain, and immediately.

To decline would be nothing short of a total insult to everyone in Victoria.