13 July, 2012

Labor revisits ban on logging

Daniel Emerson, 
The West AustralianJuly 13, 2012

State Labor is planning to recapture the success of its 2001 ban on old-growth logging with a new forest policy that could include a halt to all native logging or ban the felling of jarrah.

Shadow environment minister Sally Talbot yesterday confirmed Labor was working through a range of options for WA's new 10-year forest management plan, which comes into effect in January 2014.

She said the final policy was yet to be determined but Labor was taking "very seriously" two Environmental Protection Authority reports since 2010 that noted the northern jarrah forest was unlikely to sustain current logging levels.

"There are a whole series of policies being worked on and certainly we are interested in native forests, I mean Labor's got the runs on the board as far as ending the logging of old growth goes," Dr Talbot said.

"We are confident that we will come up with something that lives up to Labor's record, that we're pretty proud of."

Labor's ban on old-growth logging is one of the factors credited with delivering Geoff Gallop the premiership 11 years ago.

David Gosatti, group manager of fabricated timber manufacturer Inglewood Products, said a ban on native logging would sound the death knell for his 50-year-old family business.

"There's no alternative timbers for us to mill," he said.

"We've done a lot of work with the Forest Products Commission on plantation timber.

"But for using them in products that we produce - which is joinery, flooring and other building products - none are suitable in that you can import cheaper timbers that are of better quality than we have access to here."

A forest commission spokes-woman said an about 3000 people were directly or indirectly employed by the native logging industry and a ban would result in mill closures and impact on regional communities. Old-growth forests are native forests that have never been logged.

Native forest logging happens in the South West near Manjimup, Nannup, Northcliffe and Warup, west of Wagin.

Greens MP Giz Watson said there was not much tall jarrah left in WA.

"We are always delighted when other political parties reach the same position we do," she said.

"We want to have an end to native logging and we can't do that on our own."

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