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Manjimup rallies against WA end to native forestry

More than 300 people gathered in Manjimup on Monday to rally against the WA State Government’s decision to end native forestry in that State. Last week’s announcement was made without industry consultation leaving businesses, employees and regional communities in a state of shock, conveyed by many who attended. Source: Timberbiz

Forest Industries Federation WA Executive Director Melissa Haslam spoke at the rally, which was held at the front of Manjimup’s Timber Museum, along with Shadow Forestry Minister Steve Martin, Shadow Minister for Local Government, Water and Regional Cities’ James Haywood and Manjimup Shire President Paul Omodei.

Mrs Haslam said the raw emotion conveyed reflected the way people had been treated by the State Government in a purely political decision.

“People are upset, and they have every right to be, a snap decision has turned their world upside and today we heard some of those emotional stories,” Mrs Haslam said.

“Since the politically motivated announcement last week, we have heard from many other sectors who are upset and will be massively impacted. The flow-on effects will be huge.”

Mrs Haslam said the $50 million Just Transition Plan offered by the State Government was inadequate, and industry would be pushing for more.

“The lack of detail behind the announcement causes terrible uncertainty for our businesses,” she said.

“This current State Government signed off on the sustainability of the current forest management plan through the mid-term audit in 2018.

“In the lead up to the last election both major parties supported the sustainable native timber sector, so this backflip by government has shocked everyone.”

WA’s forestry industry contributes $1.4 billion to the WA economy annually and supports about 6000 jobs, with more than 90% of those jobs located in regional communities.