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WA’s new Forestry Minister Jackie Jarvis defends native logging ban

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Adam PoulsenCountryman
Labor MLC Jackie Jarvis speaks at a December 14 press conference announcing her appointment as WA’s Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Small Business.
Camera IconLabor MLC Jackie Jarvis speaks at a December 14 press conference announcing her appointment as WA’s Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Small Business. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

New WA Forestry Minister Jackie Jarvis has defended Labor’s policy to ban native logging Statewide, saying her party “made the right decision” despite many affected communities falling within her electorate.

The WA Government announced it would end commercial native timber logging by 2024 in September last year, with the South West’s Greenbushes timber mill the first affected by the policy eight months later.

In her first interview with Countryman this week, Mrs Jarvis admitted it was a tough time for communities, workers and small businesses that relied on the industry.

“It’s obviously a really difficult time for some communities at the moment, as we transition out of native timber, but I think we’ve made the right decision,” she said.

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“We’ve got a drying climate, we’ve got significantly less rainfall in the South West, and industry were struggling to get the tree sizes that they needed within close proximity to their timber mills.”

Mrs Jarvis — who was also sworn into the agriculture and small business portfolios on December 14 — also took the opportunity to hit back at shadow agriculture minister Colin de Grussa over recent comments directed at her.

“The minister must make it a first order of business to get out to the regions impacted by her Government’s decision to end the (native logging) industry, and engage with the local communities,” Mr de Grussa said in a statement on December 15.

“Given the minister is a South West-based MP, we expect her to have a true understanding of the industry concerns after it was callously ripped from under them by the previous minister (Dave Kelly).”

Mrs Jarvis, who represents the South West Region in the Upper House, said she was in Greenbushes on the day its historic timber mill shut down.

The historic Greenbushes timber mill, pictured in 1898, shut down in May 2022 after WA Labor announced a policy to end native logging by 2024.
Camera IconThe historic Greenbushes timber mill, pictured in 1898, shut down in May 2022 after WA Labor announced a policy to end native logging by 2024. Credit: UNKNOWN/The West Australian

“I was at Greenbushes fronting up in front of 30 workers when they were getting their redundancies, so I’ve been there, and I intend to keep doing that,” she said.

“It’s my electorate so I know these businesses and I know these workers. I’m working really closely with Jane Kelsbie, the member for Warren Blackwood, who is out there every day talking to these people.

“I don’t necessarily know that Colin fully understands my background or what I’ve been doing.”

Mrs Jarvis served several stints on the WA Government’s Forest Products Commission between 2015 and 2019.

She was still awaiting ministerial briefings when Countryman spoke to her on December 20, but said she understood most businesses affected by the logging ban had accepted transitional payment arrangements from the State Government.

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