The resignation of WA Premier Mark McGowan comes as no surprise to the state’s forest industry.
Labor insiders have been hinting at it for about six months, indeed predicting it.
At the last election (the Covid landslide), the ALP came to dominate parliament, but with the record number of new members came a record number of those from the extreme left wing of the Labor Party.
The extreme lefties are further to the left than the Green Party regarding environmental issues.
McGowan was snookered into Native Forest Ban
Industry observers told Wood Central the left has been out to get McGowan for some time; the left orchestrated his ‘overnight’ banning of the state’s hardwood timber industry, and he could not repel it.
“This will be a disaster for bushfire management in Western Australia, says forest historian Roger Underwood who was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his decades of service to forestry and bushfire management in the state.
“McGowan was a firm supporter of fuel reduction burning and simply would not listen to the activists and academics trying to curtail it,” Mr. Underwood said.
“He understood both the purpose and the science and also appreciated how essential it was. But he was lonely. Other ministers could only be described as ‘wishy washy’, and almost certainly will ‘go with the flow’ when a new Left faction premier takes over and the burning program is curtailed or shut down.
“The environmentalists will be rubbing their hands with glee.”
McGowan played the game very hard during Covid and went completely overboard with some decisions. But he was loved for it. Most West Australians thought he was a wonderful leader. And he was 100 supported by his ministry and by the media.
‘What comes next does not bear thinking about,” Mr Underwood said.
The 2024 Native Forest Ban blindsided everyone
In September 2021, the McGowan Labor government announced an end to native forest harvesting from 2024. At the time, Forest Industries Federation (WA) said the decision was made without prior warning or consultation. It left businesses, employees, and regional communities unsure about their future.
To assist with the transition, the government announced an investment of $350 million to expand Western Australia’s softwood timber plantations to create and support sustainable WA jobs.
According to a statement from the WA government, the decision to end logging of native forests in the Forest Management Plan 2024-33 will preserve at least 400,000 hectares of karri, jarrah and wandoo forests.
This means nearly 2 million hectares of native forests will be protected.
About 9000 hectares of high conservation-value karri will also receive immediate protection, with other high-value forest areas to be recommended for national park status.
Controversially, bauxite mining will be exempt from the ban.
Jack Bradshaw, who participated in developing the WA Regional Forestry Agreements, has reported on the government’s preference for strip mining over sustainable forest management.
From 2024, timber from native forests will be limited to forest management activities that improve forest health and clearing for approved mining operations, such as Alcoa.
Mark McGowan, 55, will retire from politics after his bombshell announcement on Monday, stepping down after six years in the job.
“I’m extremely tired. I’m exhausted. I just don’t have the energy or drive to continue in the role as Premier,” McGowan said at a press conference. His retirement will take effect this week.
Under McGowan’s leadership, WA Labor swept to power in 2017, winning with a huge majority. He was re-elected for a second term in 2021 in an extraordinary landslide, winning 53 of the 59 seats in the state’s lower house. He also appointed himself as the state’s treasurer following that election.
Labor has endorsed Roger Cook as the state’s next premier after he secured the backing of a key party faction. Speaking at a press conference, Cook was joined by Rita Saffioti, who looks set to be his deputy premier.
Under McGowan’s leadership, WA Labor swept to power in 2017, winning with a huge The 55-year-old was re-elected for a second term in 2021 in an extraordinary landslide, winning 53 of the 59 seats in the state’s lower house. He also appointed himself as the state’s treasurer following that election.
The next WA election is not due until March 2025.