Government must accept extraordinary community offer to save public forest

The Barnett Government has no logical option but to accept the community’s offer to save the Mowen Forest near Margaret River by giving the Government money equal to the profit the Government would make by logging it, Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren said today, as campaigners prepare to gather outside Parliament in the hope of handing a giant cheque to the Premier.

“We are in an extraordinary situation where private citizens are having to donate to save a public forest asset from Government destruction; if this is what it takes to save precious public environmental assets from this Government, that is what the community will do,” Ms MacLaren said.

“If the Government can receive $90,000 in donations from the community – in other words, the same amount of money the Government would make from logging this precious native forest – without destroying the public asset, why wouldn’t it except for reasons relating to stubbornness or face-saving?

“Most Western Australians feel our native forests are worth far more standing than logged; in trying to keep this dying industry alive at the expense of our native fauna and flora the Government is showing it is out of step with community sentiment.

 “As the Greens’ questions in Parliament confirmed,  the anticipated saw log income in Mowen coupes One and Two is $306,500 and the Government has disclosed that it spent $216,500 on costs such as putting in roads and doing a dieback survey.

 “Meanwhile there are other logging costs to the Forest Products Commission that it has declined to disclose including  preparing log landings, fauna survey, and dieback demarcation.

 “I call on the Barnett to accept the community’s public forest buyback offer today, or make a genuine counter-offer, which the community will no doubt do its best to match.”