On Wednesday the 8th September the Western Australian Government announced the end of public native forestry in that State.
This follows the announcement in 2019 by Victoria to phase out public native forestry in that State by 2030.
That is now two States lining up to shut down Welfare Public Native Forestry in Australia after 50 years of divisive, destructive forestry wars.
It is undoubtedly significant that the two States to announce the end of public native forestry currently have very strong Governments and opposition parties in complete disarray. This gives the Government the courage and opportunity to make tough decisions that won’t become divisive political issues at the next election cycle.
Both State Governments also have very good Balance Sheets at the moment so some spending can be used to help sweeten the tough decisions.
No doubt the forest industry will be screaming about political betrayal and cowardice….and jobs, jobs, jobs…… over the coming months.
The truth is the writing has been on the wall for public native forestry for decades.
Ever since industrial woodchipping commenced in Australia in the early 1970’s and the publication of “Fight for the Forests” in 1973, public native forestry has been on the defensive.
The problem was that in the 1970s the forest industry and the forestry profession believed the forestry wars could be won.
Back then the forest industry had a number of alternative approaches it could have chosen in the face of mounting criticism; alternatives that would have broadened the support base, built the plantation sector and created a positive future. Instead the forest industry chose the worst possible course of action.
Here we are 50 years later and the forest industry in Australia is a complete mess!
50 years of conflict has left the forest industry exhausted, demoralised and isolated.
The industry is still committing a significant part of its declining resources defending the indefensible, whilst at the same time depriving the plantation sector of any oxygen at all.
The industry is shrinking rather than expanding, with declining commercial viability.
Back in 1998 when Victoria became the first State Government to privatise its softwood plantation estate the “writing on the wall” became a large, bright, flashing rooftop neon sign! And still the forest industry refused to see the changes coming!!
The lack of understanding and foresight within the Australian forest industry has been breathtaking!
Will the industry survive the death of Public Native Welfare Forestry?
It will be a near-death experience.
And what about all those businesses in Australia that rely on quality, appearance grade timber.
Will they continue to sit back and do nothing to secure their future?
Or will they reach out to Australian farmers to support, encourage and reward farm forestry?
Time is running out!
The end of public native welfare forestry in Australia is now within sight.
50 years of conflict in our forests will soon be at an end.