The end of our native forestry industry
Updated: Sep 13, 2021
Is this decision best serving our West Australian people and our environment?
Last week the State Government decided to end the native forestry industry by 2024. This announcement to stop all logging of the Southwest native forest was very sudden, with no industry consultation made prior. The sustainable sector employs more than 500 people, and thousands more indirectly. It contributes over $220 million to the WA economy each year, as well as underpinning many small businesses, suppliers and service providers. This decision leaves a severely damaging impact to these businesses and their families. It will be a huge loss to many small regional communities also.
Artifex is proud to use sustainable Jarrah in nearly all the furniture we make. It is stronger, therefore lasting longer and better for the environment. It is sourced locally, supporting local employment and hardwood logging in WA meets the strictest environmental standards, considered by both internal and external experts to be sustainable. Read more
The government wants local facilities transformed to mill soft woods such as pine. This is something we don’t want to happen as the use of softwood will bring the quality of furniture down. Therefore, we would need to source hardwoods elsewhere, leading us more than likely to import from overseas.
The State Government’s decision is said to be for the protection of our environment but it’s so much more than this, it’s a political fight to get votes as the next election is also in 2024. If they really cared for our environment and local economy, they wouldn’t have made a decision that will force suppliers and manufacturers to look elsewhere around the world for hardwood timbers.
Here’s some important aspects to consider:
We use responsibly sourced and certified wood adhering to strict Australian standards. How can we be assured imported hardwood timbers will meet these same standards? Will it be ethically sourced and manufactured? Will safe working conditions be provided to the employees?
Why is it ok to ‘care’ for our environment but not care at all about someone else’s?
When wood is not responsibly sourced, the result is deforestation which causes destruction of critical carbon stores, habitat loss for wildlife, and a devastating impact to those who rely on the forests for food, shelter and their livelihoods.
Increase in costs
Importing hardwoods will create an increase in supply costs and a larger carbon footprint. Delivery costs will be significantly higher than they are when shipping within Australia.
The South West forest is the only place in the world where Jarrah, Marri and Karri can be sourced. Jarrah can’t be grown on plantations because it requires the biodiversity of native forests to grow. These beautiful timbers won’t be able to shine in furniture pieces any longer!
More importing = more waiting. Longer lead times for suppliers will have a roll-on effect to manufacturers and our customers.
Buying West Australian goods and spending our money with local businesses supports our local economy. Keeping money in Australia helps boost our economy and create more demand for local jobs.
Buying local and Australian products reduces greenhouse gas emissions and this is due to the reduction in energy consumption required to transport products within Australia, compared to products coming from overseas which consume a typically much longer process.
Locally transported items have a lower impact on the environment as they require less travel time and therefore less energy resources to get them from the production facility to the store/customer.
Lower quality furniture
Softwoods are not an adequate substitute and so the overall quality of local furniture will be diminished.
Current logging keeps the state forests safer from bush fires. If they are not logged and a fire comes through, the result would be worse again for the environment.
When responsibly sourced and certified, wood is an excellent option for sustainability. It is renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable.
Australia has strict regulations for timber harvesting and a proud responsibility for sustainable management of our forests and plantations. Our timber suppliers are committed to our forests, our community and our future just as we are. Unfortunately, most imported goods do not need to adhere to these same regulations.
WA’s native forestry ban is not backed up by science or long-term thinking. Institute of Foresters of Australia vice president Dr Michelle Freeman said that while the association welcomed the Government’s commitment to plant 50 million more trees and support ongoing management to improve forest health, the singlemindedness of the decision to end native forestry was flawed.
We ask the state government to consider the wider impact of this decision and whether all consequences have been carefully explored.
We do not feel this proposed action adequately addresses the environmental, social and economic impact, and the knock-on effect of what this policy will mean.
Our economy and environment will end up footing the bill. We should be thinking sustainably and long term. Thinking about good quality products and the bigger picture.