September 16, 2013
I am not sure that the new Labor leadership, which will be decided over the next month or so, will be up to the task of fighting to defend Western Australia's old growth karri and jarrah forests in the south west from their long destruction
The background to the above is that WA's current forest management plan (FMP) expires on 31 December 2013. A new FMP is being developed for the period January 2014 to December 2023 and the draft reveals that the Barnett Government is considering huge increases to native forest logging in WA. It has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
The plan sets aside 62 per cent of forests for conservation while the remaining 38 per cent will be available for timber harvesting. Forest use is currently skewed towards timber getting and the 62 per cent assigned to conservation use includes gravel pits, logging roads and landings and sand dunes. There is very little old growth forest left in the south-west of WA – only 15 per cent of the region’s remaining forests and there has been decades of overcutting and mismanagement
This is not to bash Labor whilst it is down, but I cannot see the new ALP leadership calling for an end to logging in WA's old growth native forests. Yes I know that WA Labor under Gallop was once committed to the full protection of WA's remaining old-growth and high conservation value forests; but they didn't really address the current structure of the logging industry which is having unacceptable environmental impacts and is also uneconomic. The ALP could, for instance, repeal sections 38 to 42 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, which exclude RFA forests from protection under the Act.
The effect of logging on old-growth forests could actually increase the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and this could make the effects of climate change more severe than predicted.