Claims made by extremists protesting in the forest near Pemberton today were typical of the distortions and downright lies people could expect to hear during the coming election campaign, Forest Products Minister Paul Omodei said today.
In the media statement, the protesters claimed the Forest Products Commission was attempting ‘to grab the last of the old growth forest before the imminent State election’.
“The truth is the Government has permanently reserved from logging 86 per cent of old growth karri, 70 per cent of old growth jarrah and 100 per cent of old growth and two-tier karri/tingle,” Mr Omodei said.
“People with a real interest in preserving old growth forests are increasingly aware that the Government has done the job for them, but the greenies are desperate to prevent the spread of this information.
“The media statement also claimed that the ‘popular tourist attraction Moons Crossing … is being destroyed’.
“The fact is that there will be no operations within half a kilometre of Moons Crossing.
“The Forest Products Commission has had close consultation with the community, including tourist groups, and additional areas have been excluded from harvesting around the crossing to protect tourist interests.
“The media statement says ‘declared rare ancient plants (Metzgeria decipiens) will be destroyed in this logging operation’.
“The fact is that the liverwort Metzgeria decipiens is not a declared rare species, but is recognised as a priority species which requires special management consideration and the species population will be protected during logging.”
Mr Omodei said that all the protesters were doing was preventing contractors removing logs felled during road-building.
“If they were to succeed, they would probably then get a doctor to take a picture of the logs and claim that we were wasting good timber on the forest floor.
“If this sort of nonsense continues during the election campaign, people need to remember the facts about the preservation of old growth forests.”
Media conctact: Hugh Ryan 9213 6700