Future of timber businesses under fire

The Opposition has slammed the McGowan Labor Government’s failure to see flow-on effects of banning native forestry on industries which rely on timber to provide goods and services.

Opposition Leader Mia Davies said more than a year had passed since the announcement to end the native forestry industry yet many businesses still don’t have clarity on what their futures hold.

“The decision to shut down this sustainable industry has resulted in businesses who rely on local timber supply being left scrambling to plan for the future,” Ms Davies said.

“The ignorant ban on native forestry has long-lasting and wide-ranging impacts.

“There should have been more thought by this Government towards the flow on effect to those smaller businesses and what support they might need as they face decimation.”

Shadow Forestry Minister Steve Martin met with West Australian furniture makers today, who will have to shut up shop with a lack of local timber starting to slow down business.

Mr Martin said it was devastating to hear from local owners who, in some cases, are facing the end of their multi-generational family businesses due to Labor’s inability to realise flow-on effects of shutting the timber industry down.

“The ban on native forestry will impact all of these businesses, from furniture makers to heritage repairers, ripping any possible future business plans from under their feet,” Mr Martin said.

“After realising their futures were under threat, these owners looked for any sign of compensation in the Just Transition Plan or future for the industry in the draft Forest Management Plan, and have been left in the lurch with no funding promised and no allocation of timber going forward.”

Mr Martin said concerns were also raised about the State firewood supply with many West Australians, particularly in regional WA, uncertain about how they’ll heat their home next winter.

“The McGowan Labor Government has refused to provide any clarity around how they will make up for the impending firewood shortage, worsened by the ban on native forestry,” Mr Martin said.

“If there’s not a reliable supply of firewood, there’s a risk many people will be left with no choice other than to sourcing wood illegally from fragile environments or unauthorised regions.

“This is just another example of the McGowan Labor Government making rash industry-wide bans without any consideration, consultation or care for West Australian businesses.”