There will be no logging of old growth karri or karri/tingle forest within the 16 forest blocks the Ferguson Ministerial Advisory Committee declared ‘sensitive’, Forest Products Minister Paul Omodei said today.
Mr Omodei said Greens MLC Christine Sharp was being politically mischievous in inventing a story that they would be logged and he was surprised that the media would publish such nonsense without attempting to verify it.
“A key purpose of the Ferguson Committee’s review was to identify the most publicly valued areas of old karri outside the current very extensive forest reserve system,” the Minister said.
“The Government accepted the outcome - the 16 identified blocks - and simply will not allow logging of old growth karri and karri/tingle in that forest.
“Dr Sharp concocted her story on the basis that indicative logging plans released for public comment showed a figure of 173,000 cubic metres of karri to be harvested next year.
“That figure was used because it was the maximum supply commitment at the time the plans were released. It included 5,000cu.m. for Greenbushes after that mill re-opened.
“The figure has already been reduced to 170,400cu.m. and I expect significant reductions to continue into next year as the Government continues to implement its policy of averaging karri sawlog supply at 149,000cu.m. for the period to 2003 and 50,000cu.m. from 2004.
“The reductions are being achieved in on-going negotiations with sawmillers.”
Mr Omodei also rejected the assertion in The West Australian that he had ‘refused to provide answers to six questions about the logging plan raised by Dr Sharp in the Legislative Council’.
“The fact is that the questions were sent to my office yesterday and it was not possible to provide the answers to the Legislative Council in time for their Question Time,” he said.
“In accordance with standard practice, the questions were therefore put on notice.
“There is no question of refusing to answer, just as there is no question of logging in the 16 blocks referred to.”
Media contact: Hugh Ryan 9213 6700