New Forestry Minister must listen to industry and communities

Dec 8, 2022 | State News, Steve Martin MLC

The resignation of Minister for Forestry Dave Kelly, announced this afternoon, is an opportunity for the incoming Minister to reach out to workers, employers and communities impacted by the Government’s decision to end hardwood harvesting, according to Shadow Minister for Forestry Steve Martin MLC.

“After the shock announcement to end hardwood harvesting in Western Australia, Minister Kelly failed to genuinely consult with the hardwood forestry sector and the communities affected by the government’s decision,” said Mr Martin.

“The Native Forestry Transition Group process has been a sham from the start and was even described as ‘offensive’ and ‘deplorable’ by representatives of the industry.

“The Labor Government has consistently failed to consult stakeholders and community groups, disregarded feedback and put minimal effort into creating an equitable and fair compensation package.

“This Labor Government doesn’t care about small business. They have gutted a regional industry that employs hundreds of hard-working Western Australians,” said Mr Martin.

“The first order of business for the new Minister for Forestry should be to travel to Manjimup and listen to the locals. Prove that they are the Minister for Forestry – not the Minister for shutting down Forestry.

“I urge them to take the chance to meet with the business owners facing the loss of their small businesses. These businesses are now faced with heavy job losses, a shortage of material and a steep increase in operational costs.

“The new Minister must also consult with the numerous sectors that rely on native hardwood, including sawmills, furniture manufacturers, construction companies, firewood suppliers, heritage builders and transport operators to get the full picture of the drastic impacts this decision is already having on our state.

“Minister Kelly will not be missed by the hard-wood forestry sector. His replacement has plenty of work to do to rebuild trust within the industry and with communities impacted by the government’s decision,” said Mr Martin.