Forestry Minister fails to consult industry yet again

Aug 17, 2022 | State News, Steve Martin MLC

Forestry Minister Dave Kelly has again failed to meaningfully consult with the communities, workers and businesses affected by the government’s decision to end hardwood harvesting in Western Australia.

Yesterday, Minister Kelly added some detail to three development programs original announced in May to compensate communities and businesses affected by the shock decision.

“Once again, the Minister has made no serious attempt to consult with those involved in the forestry industry before making his latest announcement,” said Shadow Minister for Forestry, Steve Martin MLC.

“Almost one year on from the Labor Government’s fait accompli decision to end the hardwood forestry industry, and the Minister still hasn’t learnt from his mistakes.

“Rather than taking the opportunity to meaningfully consult with industry and community representatives, he again imposed a solution that treats the sector with contempt.

“This is latest in a string of announcements that have been presented to the industry as a take it or leave it deal.”

Just $400,000 is on offer to businesses who were blindsided by the government’s decision to shut down the hardwood industry. The payment is available to those who were not direct customers of the Forest Products Commission but were still impacted by the decision.

Firewood suppliers, furniture manufacturers, joinery specialists and heritage builders are just some of the businesses who have been impacted.

“These grants will go nowhere near covering the cost of the substantial investments made by small business owners that have kept hundreds of workers in Western Australia employed and contributed millions to the economy,” said Mr Martin.

“If this low-ball offer wasn’t insulting enough, these businesses are still facing an uncertain future as no one from the government has told them what to expect once the current Forest Management Plan has ended.”