1500 Petition Parliament to save Mowen Forest near Margaret River

Media statement, Thursday, 27 November 2014.

Plans to log a beloved forest for minimal financial gain will be abandoned if the largest petition in recent times gathered by the Margaret River community is successful. The 1500 strong petition, to be tabled today at 10am by Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren, opposes imminent plans to log 1,610 hectares of Margaret River’s Mowen Forest which will destroy threatened fauna habitat, said Ms MacLaren.
“Based on what the State Government has revealed so far through my questioning, there is next to no financial profit to come from hacking down the equivalent of 750 Subiaco ovals of native forest,” said Ms MacLaren.

“All of the undisclosed costs* need to come in under $90,000 to make even the slightest profit from logging 1,610 hectares of Mowen forest.

The Margaret River community don’t want their forest laid flat. It adds insult to injury to learn that they will lose this forest for a measly $90,000 for sawlogs. They’ve been told that logging will commence when the rain stops,” said Ms MacLaren.

“Today I will also challenge the Minister for Forestry about misconceptions that logging WA native forests is economically viable.

“Far from contributing economic benefits, the native forest logging industry is heavily subsidised by the State Government.  Without government support the Forest Product Commission’s losses since its formation in 2000 would be considerable. For the 2013-2014 financial year, the FPC reported an after-tax loss for south-west native forest logging of $10.4 million.

“The South-West's native forests are worth far more standing than they are as firewood, woodchips and railway sleepers, said WA Forest Alliance Convenor, Jess Beckerling.

“We know that the vast majority of the wood produced is sold as very low value products, job numbers are diminishing and the industry is operating at a financial loss. Mowen forest must be protected, not wasted by this antiquated industry and WAFA is strongly supporting locals in their campaign.”

*The anticipated sawlog income in Mowen coupes One and Two is $306,500. The State Government disclosed that it spent $216,500 to prepare Mowen coupe 1 and 2 for logging, with costs such as putting in roads and conducting a dieback survey. However, there are many undisclosed costs such as preparing log landings, fauna survey, and dieback demarcation.