Shire meets Minister to discuss closure of native timber industry
Shire of Manjimup delegation meets with Minister for Forestry to discuss impacts of the decision to close the Western Australian native timber industry.
As part of the first steps to understand the decision of the McGowan Government to close the native timber industry in Western Australia and the transition process from here, Shire President Hon Paul Omodei, Deputy Shire President Jayde Darin and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Campbell met with the Minister for Water, Forestry and Youth, Hon Dave Kelly MLA on Tuesday 21 September 2021.
Cr Omodei said, “I would like to thank Minister Kelly for taking time out of his schedule to meet with representatives of the Shire of Manjimup at very short notice and I also acknowledge the Member for Warren Blackwood Jane Kelsbie MLA for her assistance in coordinating the meeting. The meeting was very constructive, however what is now very clear is that there is much to do in the lead up to the closure toward the end of 2023.”
Information derived from the meeting was that a Native Forestry Transition Group is being established to formulate a plan to provide support to affected workers and businesses, drive further diversification of local economies and assist in identifying and securing sustainable job opportunities. The first meeting is expected to be convened in October 2021. Cr Omodei added “Minister Kelly has recognised impacts that the closure will have in the Shire of Manjimup along with other Local Government areas in the South West and has invited me to join the Transition Group as a representative based on my knowledge of the industry and connection to the local community. Having a seat at the table is the best way in assisting to support local workers and businesses plus look to new opportunities to create local jobs and industry.”
The meeting confirmed the following information:
- The Forest Management Plan 2024 – 2033 will be developed with extensive consultation and be used as the mechanism to close the majority of the native timber industry;
- Until the end of 2023 it is business as usual in the sector with the exclusion of two-tier karri operations which cease immediately;
- $50M funding for the Just Transition Plan does not include any compensation for Investment Security Guarantees as this matter is a separate issue;
- $350M will be spent on further developing the softwood pine plantations with exact details on matters to be determined in the future;
- Native forest thinning and value adding activities will continue in some form as part of the Forest Management Plan 2024 – 2033 but the exact details are yet to be determined; and
- The State Government is committed to working with stakeholders through this process.
During the meeting the Shire of Manjimup raised a number of urgent matters for immediate consideration of Minister Kelly. Cr Omodei said “The first urgent matter we raised was a request to Minister Kelly to ensure that local communities were kept fully informed on all developments. In addition to this other matters raised included the retention of local jobs and the importance of this in sustaining local populations, fire management and the potential of increased fire risk to communities and the environment as a result of the decision, contaminated site clean-up and repurposing of mill sites where necessary or identifying alternate sites for new industry, and ensuring businesses indirectly associated with the native timber industry are not forgotten.”
The Shire of Manjimup will continue to provide information to the community as this matter progresses.
Authorised by Andrew Campbell, Chief Executive Officer
Contact Sheri Laba, Public Relations Officer
Contact for comment: Paul Omodei, Shire President
Contact: 0448 810 773