The Shadow Treasurer Dr Steve Thomas says that revelations in Parliament that the McGowan Government’s 2017 promise to plant 4.4 million pine trees in the Collie catchment over the next four years was another forestry fail reflected a lack of commitment to the softwood industry.
“Labor Minister Dave Kelly promised to plant 3,500 hectares by the middle of this year, and it hasn’t got halfway there” Dr Thomas said.
“This failure is critical because the pine industry if facing a crisis of supply over the two decades, with shortfalls predicted because of a lack of planting and plantation loss due to fire.”
“This shortfall will hit local processors and the housing industry across the state.”
The lack of plantings in particular has raised industry concerns, with hundreds of jobs in the South West reliant on pine processing. It is considered to be a cliff facing the industry with impacts lasting for fifteen to twenty years.
“It is also another failure of the Government in Collie, where the plantations were also meant to help prevent the rise of salt affected groundwater” Dr Thomas said.
“It is another failure for the softwood plantation industry, the building industry and the Collie community. The shortfall of pine has been obvious for years, and swift action was required. Instead the plantings are going at a snail’s pace.”