The McGowan Labor Government has today affirmed its commitment to the protection of old-growth forest by strengthening assessment processes prior to harvesting.
The move follows the release of the Barrabup assessment report undertaken by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).
The department recently conducted an assessment of a harvest coupe within Barrabup forest block following public concerns the coupe contained old-growth jarrah forest.
The assessment found that within the 530-hectare coupe, 43 hectares contained jarrah old-growth forest and 1.2 hectares of old-growth forest had been impacted by roadworks.
The Forest Products Commission (FPC) will rehabilitate all the affected parts of old-growth forest areas and has identified further measures to minimise the risk of future occurrences.
The Commission will also implement other practice improvements to limit the risk of a similar incident occurring in the future.
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
"The assessment of the Barrabup coupe found 43 hectares of previously unmapped jarrah old-growth forest, which will now be set aside from timber harvesting.
"Unfortunately, it was found that track construction had disturbed about one hectare of the old-growth forest which is extremely disappointing.
"It is imperative that our unique natural values are conserved and protected through greater stringent controls and I have asked DBCA to ensure stricter compliance."
Comments attributed to Forestry Minister Dave Kelly:
"I would like to thank the community for alerting DBCA and FPC about their concerns regarding the presence of old-growth forest in Barrabup.
"The McGowan Government, like Labor governments of the past, takes the conservation of our old-growth forests very seriously. After all, it was the Gallop Labor Government that stopped the harvesting of old-growth forests in 2002.
"I have asked FPC to give me advice on why these old-growth patches weren't identified earlier and what improvements can be made to minimise the risk of a reoccurrence.
"FPC will also be re-evaluating the harvest strategy for the Barrabup coupe and harvesting will not commence until this is complete."
Minister's office - 6552 5800