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WA protestors’ ‘publicity stunt’ halts work in Helms forest

A protest which disrupted operations at Helms forest near Nannup in Western Australia has been described as little more than a publicity stunt in the lead-up to the State elections in March next year. Source: Timberbiz

Employees of a family-owned logging contractor were forced to stop operations for about three hours due to road closures caused by protestors.

They were able to resume partial operations before police arrived and ordered the protestors to move on.

WA’s peak timber industry peak body, the Forest Industries Federation of WA (FIFWA) has condemned the protests

FIFWA Executive Director Melissa Haslam said the actions of protestors was an unfair and unnecessary way of seeking attention, disrupting legal and sustainable logging operations.

“It shows a complete lack of regard for a family-owned business that contributes to the local economy and supports the local community,” Ms Haslam said.

“It is obvious that this is a publicity stunt leading up to the State election.

“Helms is a sustainably managed regrowth coupe. It has been harvested before and will be selectively harvested now, then completely regenerated as it has in the past.

“We are a sustainable industry. Of the 2.25 million hectares of native forest, 1.4 million hectares is already in reserves. Only 1% of the forest is harvested each year and all of it is regenerated.”

The Helms timber operation covers 741 hectares, of which 299 hectares is excluded from harvesting as it has been flagged for conservation. The remaining 442 hectares will be harvested for valuable timber products, from an expected yield of 10,000 tonnes of jarrah sawlogs.

The harvested logs will be delivered to nearby Parkside Nannup mill, further stimulating the local economy, before being used to create high-value products such as flooring and furniture components. To ensure there is no waste, the entirety of the resource is used, with lesser-quality or residue logs being used for other products.