A new framework for the conservation and management of the State’s natural resources is now in place.
Environment Minister Cheryl Edwardes and Forest Products Minister Paul Omodei said the passage of the Conservation and Land Management Amendment Bill and the Forest Products Bill through State Parliament set the stage for the appointment of two new bodies to manage forests.
Mrs Edwardes said the passage of the Bills through Parliament delivered on Coalition Government promises to fulfil public demands for the division of the forest harvesting and forest conservation roles of the Department of Conservation and Land Management.
She said the Conservation Commission of Western Australia would replace the Lands and Forest Commission and the National Parks and Nature Conservation Authority.
The State’s national parks, conservation parks, nature reserves, State forests and timber reserves would be vested in the new body.
“Its creation introduces a new era for management of conservation lands, including State forests,” Mrs Edwardes said.
“For the first time, all State forests will be part of the conservation estate.”
Forest Products Minister Paul Omodei said the commercial production of forest products from publicly managed forests and plantations would become the responsibility of the new Forest Products Commission.
“This will separate the commercial and conservation responsibilities until now held by the Department of Conservation and Land Management,” he said.
“The creation of two new commissions – the Conservation Commission and the Forest Products Commission - will ensure the competing needs of land conservation and commercial forestry are separated.
“The Conservation Commission will report to the Minister for the Environment and the Forest Products Commission to the Minister for Forest Products.”
Mrs Edwardes said CALM would manage conservation lands and waters, nature conservation, recreation, ecotourism, astronomical services, native flora, fauna, and scientific advice about ecologically sustainable land management.
Mr Omodei said the legislation was the basis for the new forest management policy the State Government had promised to introduce.
“Now these Bills have been passed we can proceed with the restructure of the hardwood timber industry and further develop value-added plans outlined in the Regional Forest Agreement,” he said.
“I am hopeful that we can have the Forest Products Commission to oversee production forestry in place by November 1.”
Mrs Edwardes said the new legislation provided an innovative, creative and progressive vision for the State’s conservation areas, particularly its forests.
Steve Manchee (Minister Edwardes Office) 9421 7777
Owen Cole (Minister Omodei’s Office) 9481 7810