WA Government Favours Strip-Mining Over Sustainable Forestry

Jack Bradshaw participated in the development of the WA Regional Forestry Agreements. In a Wood Central Op-Ed, he discusses the increased strip-mining Jarrah for Bauxite.

Thu 13 Apr 23


Despite evidence to the contrary, the WA Minister for Forests Jacki Jarvis continues to argue that the state’s timber industry had to close because it has run out of wood, a result of reduced growth rate due to climate change.

She quoted reports from CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology as evidence. Neither of these organisations has any involvement in the determination of timber yield.

In past management plans, specialist staff in the Department of Parks and Wildlife or its predecessors (now Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions) made estimates of sustainable yield allowing for contingencies such as wildfire, climate change or proposed tenure changes. The data and methodology used were then reviewed by a panel of independent experts before a recommendation was made to government.

This did not happen for the new management plan.

Footage courtesy of @MongabayTV

A freedom of information request asking what information had been provided to the government on the impact of climate change on timber yields produced no information relating to changes in growth rate or yield over time and no information at all relating to the karri resource.

Access to one-third of relevant documents were refused on the grounds that “its disclosure would reveal any deliberation or decision made by an executive body”, that is the public are not entitled to know what information the government uses to make its decisions.

The article draws attention to a long-term concern around the rehabitiation of the Jarrah forests. Footage courtesy of @alcoaminingjarrahforest3725

So much for open government.

Either DBCA wase told not to bother determining the yield for this management plan or the calculated yield did not suit the government’s pre-determined decision to close the industry. There was no review by an independent panel.

In November 2022 Wood Central contributor Gavin Butcher covered the WA Government’s review of the Native Forestry Bill.
In November 2022 Wood Central contributor Gavin Butcher covered the WA Government’s review of the Native Forestry Bill.

The previous minister (Dave Kelly) maintained that all would be revealed in the new Management Plan and that there would be opportunity for further refinement. This was despite the fact that the biggest change to be made to forest management in last 170 years was the closure of the timber industry, it is not even mentioned until page 32 of the draft and without a single reason given for the decision.

I am sure that the minister is aware that the decision to close the industry has nothing to do with growth rate or carbon stocks and everything to do with green ideology and city votes … all this while continuing to support the strip mining of the jarrah forest for bauxite at ever increasing rates.


  • Jack Bradshaw

    Jack Bradshaw, previously the Manager for the Forest Management Branch at the Western Australia Department of Conservation and Land Management, played a crucial role in shaping the State's Regional Forest Agreement from 1993 onwards.


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