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WA pumps $67M into new jobs after killing native forestry

Forestry Minister Jackie Jarvis

WA’s Cook Government’s Forest Management Plan 2024-2033 (FMP), which supports the decision to bring commercial logging of native forests to an end, will be bolstered with a $67.2 million investment over the next four years. Source: Timberbiz

“This funding will support that historic decision, as well as create jobs, tackle climate change, and help manage water catchments,” Environment Minister Reece Whitby said.

“This is important work, and our Government’s Native Forest Transition plan will also provide local communities the potential for forests to be used for recreation, tourism and other uses.”

The funding, which will be part of the 2024-25 State Budget, will deliver:

  • an additional 65 new jobs throughout Western Australia’s South West and metropolitan Perth, focused on a range of climate actions;
  • a new forest health monitoring program; and
  • support for emerging technologies, such as eco-acoustics, fire research, and ecological thinning, to improve forest health.

“Under the new Forest Management Plan, some native timbers will still be available through ecological thinning, which promotes forest heath and resilience from drought and bushfires,” Forestry Minister Jackie Jarvis said.

“The State Government is committed to working with the smaller sustainable mills that will play a valuable role into the future.”

Funding will also support work with Traditional Owners, protection of native wildlife from feral predators and managing weeds and plant diseases.

The new jobs will be created between 2024 and 2027 within the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and partner agencies.

The Forest Management Plan 2024-2033 came into effect on 1 January.

It established the legal framework for managing more than 2.5 million hectares of forests across the State’s South West and includes a commitment to add more than 400,000 hectares of karri, jarrah and wandoo forests as nature reserves, national parks and conservation parks.

Opposition Forestry spokesperson Steve Martin said the Government had cost industry jobs in its FMP and now taxpayers were footing the bill for new ones.

“Minister Jarvis talks about working with smaller sustainable mills, but we’ve been asking her since the beginning of the year for updates on the status of supply contracts for small operators, with very little information provided in response,” he told The Augusta Margaret River Times.

“Their decision to ban native hardwood forestry without warning or consultation threw legitimate and long-term multi-generational business into chaos, and their transition packages have been poorly targeted.”

He said this week’s announcement meant more costs for taxpayers while “economic opportunities have been actively killed off by Labor”.