WA Furniture ‘Up in Smoke’ as State Torches Valuable Timber!

Government's senseless waste of valuable wood

Thu 07 Dec 23


The WA government has sent thousands of tonnes of furniture logs into firewood heaps as it shores up firewood supplies ahead of the states logging ban.

An inspection of five firewood yards by foresters has found that up to 20% of the logs delivered by the government timber agency the Forest Products Commission were in fact high quality sawlogs.

Respected forestry consultant John Clarke was aghast: “This is a senseless waste of valuable wood, potentially losing the government $500,000 in royalties.”

Furniture industry spokesman Frank Parker was even more outspoken. “Local manufacturing has been sacrificed by the Cook government,” he said.

“We have sustainable industries like us who are now going to be starved of wood. We were promised by various Ministers that they would ensure future log supply but now we can see that there is no care, only neglect.”

In October, Forestry Minister Jackie Jarvis had been indignant when it was suggested that sawlogs were being used for firewood, stating it was “offensive to the FPC staff and also the contract professionals”.

Clearly, now the minister will have to eat humble pie with all forms of control and regulation of the industry being lost as it winds down.

The inspection of firewood stockpiles indicated that log adjudication by the FPC had not been happening.

John Clarke said sawmillers were now in despair.

“The industry was promised a just transition to a new system of management,” he said.

“There is enough wood for both firewood and furniture sectors, but for some reason the government is favouring just one.

No-one knows what is happening, and the few remaining mills are fast running out of wood.

“If there is no continuity of supply there will be no-one left to use the beautiful jarrah and marri from mine site clearing.”

An Utting Research poll showed that Western Australians were overwhelming in favour of maintaining the local industries using the wood from mine site clearing, with 72% wanting to continue supplies to local business.

The alternative is that it is shipped overseas as biomass.

The Sustainable Forest Industries Roundtable has called for all wood from mine sites to be dedicated to the local market. Failing this it will just be exported as woodchips.


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