Calls for Premier to intervene in the Just Transition Package
The President of the Shire of Manjimup, Councillor Paul Omodei, has called on the Premier on behalf of the Shire to intervene in the process undertaken by the State Government in respect to the Government’s decision to cease native forest logging at the end of the current Forest Management Plan.
The Native Forest Just Transition Committee was formed by the Minister for Forestry to provide information and feedback to the State Government in relation to the decision by the Government. The Shire President along with the Manjimup Chamber of Commerce were appointed as part of an expanded committee to represent the Manjimup Shire local communities, along with other representatives appointed on behalf of the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes and Shire of Nannup.
Councillor Omodei has been joined by other members of the Industry and Community Development Sub–Group who have described the process to date as being farcical. “The Minister appears to be operating unilaterally, ignoring the role of the Native Forest Just Transition Committee and Sub Groups.” Other representatives including the Shire’s of Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Shire of Nannup, Bunbury Chamber of Commerce and Forest Federation of Western Australia have been equally scathing of the Ministers injudicious actions.
“Recently, after the Minister agreed to give the Industry and Community Development Sub-group two weeks to provide feedback on the latest grant program of $30 million, he proceeded to issue a press statement releasing details of the program without considering the potential sub-group comments and without presenting the grant program for consideration of the main Native Forest Just Transition Committee.” There is sincere concern that to date, the package as a whole may not deliver a Just Transition, unjustly impacting on the population and workforce associated with the Industry.
The Shire President is calling on the Premier to conduct a Social and Economic Impact Study on the impact of the Government’s decision to cease the logging of Native Forests, before any further decisions are made or actions taken. The Shire of Manjimup considers this study should have occurred when the initial decision was made as the impact of the decision to end Native Forest logging is far more wide spread and significant than the government concedes.
The Shire of Manjimup calls on the Premier to intervene in the situation that has been derailed by the intransigent approach of the Minister for Forestry who is failing to appropriately consult with the Government’s Native Forests Just Transition Committees and:
1. Undertake comprehensive review of the process as lead by Minister Kelly, with specific reference to the public release of the programs without comments being sought from the Sub-Group let alone the Native Forest Just Transition Committee itself given they were specifically formed for this purpose; and
2. Give communities in the Shires’ of Manjimup, Bridgetown-Greenbushes and Nannup a clear un-wavering undertaking to commit further funding and compensation packages in the event that the current programs do not deliver on the intent to create local employment opportunities for workers in the Native Forest industry and associated industries which either support or rely on the native forests and/or the native forest products that result. There are hundreds of businesses that rely on the timber industry for their livelihoods.
The Manjimup Shire President – Councillor Paul Omodei stopped short of calling for the Minister’s dismissal.
Authorised by Brian Robinson, Acting Chief Executive Officer
Contact Sheri Laba, Public Relations Officer
Contact for comment: Paul Omodei, Shire President
Contact: 0448 810 773