Auditor General’s report confirms mismanagement of WA’s precious forests

The WA Forest Alliance welcomes the Auditor General’s report into the sale and supply of native forest timbers that was tabled in Parliament today.

“The audit has confirmed that our native forests are not being properly managed and that waste and environmental breaches are being overlooked by the Government’s logging agency, the FPC,” said WAFA convener Jess Beckerling.

“We now call on the Barnett Government to acknowledge that native forest logging is rife with waste and mismanagement and to step in to protect our irreplaceable and much loved native forests,” she said.

“Recently more than 30 scientists called on the Government to better protect our highly biodiverse forests, stating that logging is having significant impacts in this Global Biodiversity Hotspot.

“Now the Auditor General’s office has found that even the current standards for environmental protection are being breached and those breaches are not being adequately addressed.

“WAFA has copies of tables created by FPC and DEC showing hundreds of breaches of standards, including the logging of old growth, logging of stream reserves and the spreading of dieback.  

“It is shameful that the logging industry is given exemptions from legislation meant to protect threatened wildlife, and shameful that there is no decent mechanism for enforcing compliance with environmental standards.

“It is not surprising to us that the Auditor General has made these findings, and we sincerely hope that the Barnett Government will take the industry to task in the interests of our forests, and the WA community who want to see them protected,” said Ms Beckerling.

Jess Beckerling 0488 777 592

During the course of the audit we saw instances of waste and breaches of environmental standards in the forests that are not adequately followed up. We also found a large proportion of the Commission’s sales lack transparency.

Ongoing breaches of environmental standards and failure to optimise forest resources place the forest under increased pressure. Effective monitoring and compliance programs increase public confidence and support government agencies in performing complex and challenging roles.

We saw instances of inconsistent product recovery and grading practices at forest coupes and evidence of breaches of environmental standards. Non-compliance weakens the effectiveness of harvest planning processes and can lead to undesirable impacts on the forest.