Both the logging industry and environmental groups have voiced concerns about the sustainability of the proposed Forest Management Plan 2014-2023. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) report on the plan said it was scientifically sound.
The Minister has now considered 56 appeals against the report as well as advice from the Appeals Convenor. He said the EPA had covered the key environmental factors.
‘After an extensive process over a number of years, we are now close to having a new policy framework,’ he said.
In response to appeals, the Minister has imposed a condition that many of the plan’s forest management activities will be subject to target completion dates. He is also imposing a condition that the Environment Minister must approve industry proposals to access the maximum harvesting limits known in the new plan as the ‘upper limit allowable cut’.
‘These maximum limits will still be within what has been determined to be a sustainable yield,’ he said.
The WA Conservation Commission will amend the plan for Mr Jacob to approve before 2014.
Patrick Weir, co-ordinator of Roleystone conservation group Forest Legacy WA, has lobbied against implementation of the plan and said this announcement represented the Minister ‘fiddling at the edges’ and compromising WA forests’ biological integrity.
‘Albert Jacob persists with supporting a bureaucracy that insists that the continued logging of native forests is doing no harm and is economically viable, when in fact neither of those assumptions is true,’ he said.