The conservation movement was becoming frightened that the State Government’s program for the conservation of old growth forests and the restructure of the timber industry would be successful, Forest Products Minister Paul Omodei said today.
“Conservationists clearly timed a media stunt on Sunday - and the unfulfilled threat of an injunction against a Government publication - to coincide with Monday’s launch of the new Forest Products Commission and our value-adding strategy for the timber industry,” Mr Omodei said.
“The conservation movement is running a highly political agenda and is desperately frightened that the Government’s program for the restructure of the timber industry will be successful.
“Conservationists know this Government has already reserved the great bulk of old growth forest and more than a million hectares representing all forest ecosystems.
“This means that their sloganeering about saving old growth forests is virtually meaningless.
“They now face the certainty that over the next few years their negativity will be swept away by a revitalised timber industry producing more value and more employment from smaller volumes of native timber.
“Instead of welcoming this very positive development, they are desperate to protect their own positions and their desperation is leading them to make bad judgements.
“As well as Sunday’s disgraceful media stunt, we had the nonsense of the threat to take out an injunction against the Forest Products Commission’s Eco Action publication on adding value to our timber resource.
“Once we called their bluff and refused to be censored by them, the threat of the injunction disappeared without trace. They had no basis on which to approach the courts and their contemptuous use of the threat of an injunction was designed only to gain media attention.
“They may feel satisfied that they got more media attention than the constructive plans for the future of the timber industry, but the public are not fooled.
“Even after being caught out in their deception on Sunday, when they paraded timber from a feature grade log as though it were timber from a waste log, the WA Forest Alliance persisted in the lie by claiming that the log was chosen at random.
“It is amazing that a random selection would come up with a relatively rare and easily recognisable feature grade log.
“Can anyone imagine the greenies going through this exercise ‘at random’ and coming to Perth with a couple of short length boards and conceding that it was all they could get from a waste log?
“After this exercise, and the spurious threat of an injunction, their credibility is in tatters.”
Media contact: Hugh Ryan 9213 6700