Media Releases - 08 September 2021

Protection of WA native forests from logging welcomed, yet ancient jarrah forest biodiversity risk remains

  • McGowan government announces that WA native forests will be protected from logging by January 2024

  • This announcement is a significant moment in the decades-long campaign to protect high conservation value native forests across Australia

  • Concerns remain around ancient jarrah forest strip mining, through Alcoa’s expansion of bauxite mining on the doorstep of Perth

The Wilderness Society welcomes today’s announcement by the WA Premier, Mark McGowan, that his government will protect native forests in that state from logging by January 2024.

“After decades of tireless campaigning led by the WA Forest Alliance, karri, some jarrah and other high conservation value forests will now be protected,” said Amelia Young, National Campaigns Director for The Wilderness Society.

“We acknowledge the many peoples of the Noongar nation, who have respected and retained a living cultural connection to the karri, jarrah and marri forests.

“This decisive, essential action is historic—and other Australian governments continuing with native forest logging, as well as businesses engaged in native forest supply chains, must heed the decision.

“We thank the thousands of supporters Australia-wide who responded to the recent WA government community survey and shared their concern for WA’s forests and biodiversity. Together, we will engage in the remainder of the Forest Management Plan process to ensure protections are lasting and enduring, and that forests are managed for biodiversity, water, carbon and recreation, and in line with Traditional Owner’s rights and aspirations.

“We will also continue to advocate for the protection of high conservation value native vegetation across the state through the policy rethink which is currently out for public comment.

“Premier McGowan, and Ministers Sanderson and Kelly, are to be acknowledged for their leadership on this long-awaited breakthrough for WA’s native forests which will be heartily welcomed by the Australian community.

“Today’s announcements about softwood plantations, regional jobs protection and creation and the Just Transition Plan are equally welcome.

“We urge the WA government to ensure the expertise, needs, and opportunities for First Nations, community, recreation, and science stakeholders are clear and present in the Native Foresty Transition Group, yet to be established.

“Threats to WA’s forests still remain. The announcement doesn’t end clearing of ancient jarrah forests for bauxite mining by Alcoa, in Whadjuk and Bindjareb Country and on the doorstep of Perth. We are calling on the WA government to review the values of the Northern Jarrah Forest proactively, and ensure future plans for those forests protect biodiversity, carbon, water and cultural values.

“The McGowan’s government commitment to end logging follows the Andrews’ government’s 2019 commitment to end native forest logging in Victoria by 2030—a timeline which, particularly after the 2019-20 bushfires, must be brought forward.

“West Australia’s iconic forests will now be spared the threat of logging. Other state governments continuing to log high conservation value forests must now follow suit and rapidly phase out industrial logging in favour of forest protections that will halt wildlife extinction, preserve endangered forests, and benefit the broader community.

“The factors recognised by the WA Government, that have made it essential to protect WA’s forests—such as the impacts of climate change, the importance of maintaining biodiversity and forest health, the need for carbon capture and storage, and declining timber yields—apply equally to high conservation value forests still subject to logging across Australia.

“The WA government’s decision sends a clear signal to other state governments, but also businesses manufacturing, processing and retailing paper, packaging and timber products sourced from native forests: ongoing industrial logging is not tenable,” said Ms Young.

For more information: Tim Beshara 0437 878 786

Read WA Government announcement release: https://www.mediastatements.wa...