Re­port re­veals plan­ta­tions un­der­pin eco­nomic ben­e­fits

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - News - Karen Hunt

A RE­PORT on the so­cial and eco­nomic im­pact of the forestry in­dus­try has un­der­lined the grow­ing im­por­tance of plan­ta­tions to the WA and South West economies.

The De­cem­ber 2017 re­port from non-profit For­est and Wood Prod­ucts Aus­tralia was pro­duced by re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Can­berra and con­sult­ing firm Econ­search.

It is based on data from the For­est Prod­ucts Com­mis­sion and other busi­nesses and draws on gov­ern­ment sta­tis­tics and a sur­vey of 13,000 re­gional res­i­dents.

The re­port states forestry in 2015-16 con­trib­uted $257m to WA’s gross re­gional prod­uct, and $643m with “flow-on ef­fects” but just $104m of that was from na­tive forestry.

There were 508 direct jobs in na­tive forestry, 863 in soft­wood plan­ta­tions and 743 in hard­wood plan­ta­tions, with most direct jobs gen­er­ated from pro­cess­ing, it states.

“The anal­y­sis shows that, over­all, the num­ber of jobs gen­er­ated by the in­dus­try has de­clined sig­nif­i­cantly since 2006, although em­ploy­ment gen­er­ated by hard­wood plan­ta­tions has grown,” the au­thors con­clude.

The re­port also found mixed re­sults from a sur­vey of peo­ple living in forestry ar­eas.

They rated their com­mu­ni­ties as live­able, friendly, safe and pleas­ant and val­ued the jobs forestry cre­ated, but per­ceived the in­dus­try as less ben­e­fi­cial than farm­ing and tourism.

“The in­dus­try was viewed by a ma­jor­ity of res­i­dents as hav­ing neg­a­tive im­pacts on roads and lo­cal land­scape aes­thet­ics,” the re­port states.

Greens MLC Diane Evers said the re­port showed plan­ta­tions and farm forestry were more ben­e­fi­cial than na­tive for­est log­ging and called for more re­search.

“Sadly, in WA there still has not been a gov­ern­ment anal­y­sis to com­pare the eco­nomic ben­e­fits of leav­ing our na­tive forests stand­ing, in­clud­ing pos­i­tive flow-on ef­fects on water qual­ity and cli­mate, amenity, na­ture tourism, honey pro­duc­tion and re­gional at­trac­tive­ness,” she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.