An anti-logging campaign group, Nannas for Native Forests, say they will not be swayed from highlighting the destruction of native forests in South Western Australia despite being charged with trespass. Source: Timberbiz
The police were called after 27 members of the protestors made a “citizens” inspection of Simcoa’s Silicon plant near Bunbury in January.
Simcoa has contracts to buy up to 260,000 tonnes of jarrah logs from publicly owned jarrah forests every year. The trees are turned into charcoal and chips for the silicon manufacturing process.
The Forestry Industries Federation Western Australia says the group is out of touch with the State, with recent polling results highlighting strong community support for our industry.
“Anyone unlawfully interrupting a business should be held accountable,” FIFWA Executive Director Melissa Haslam said.
“While a handful of protestors badger a vital industry, the protestors’ views are clearly out of touch with the majority of people living in the South West.
Protestor Di Shanahan said the protestors knew they were likely to be charged with trespass.
“But we had to go ahead and show the world what’s happening to our native forests,” she said.
“It’s an outrage that they are being cut down to be turned into charcoal and the destruction we saw when we visited Simcoa was just heartbreaking.
“We didn’t cause any harm or destroy anything. After all we are a bunch of nannas who were armed with nothing more than a few banners.
“Simcoa should be ashamed of themselves for trying to silence us by calling the police and making sure we were charged.
“It’s not going to stop us and has only made us more determined. We have to keep going for the sake of our grandchildren.”
But Ms Haslam said that as an industry within the essential services supply chain, the focus for forestry in WA was to continue to provide essential products and services.
“Paper, packaging and toilet paper are in high demand as is structural timber for housing construction,” she said.
“We are working hard to provide necessary products, a job appreciated by the majority.
“Recent polling results highlighted the strong community support for our industry, particularly in the South West, where 80% of voters surveyed said they want to see the WA Government to do more to support and grow local timber industry jobs and decrease a reliance on timber imports.”
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.
Twenty-seven of the protestors and two camera crew are now facing fines of $500 each for trespass.