Taxpayers $80m in debt to big sawmills

The WA Forest Alliance can reveal that the State Government has guaranteed approximately $80 million of taxpayers money to the big native forest sawmills to keep them in business.


“Gunns didn't walk away from the Dean Mill operation near Manjimup because this is a thriving sector,” said WAFA spokesperson Jess Beckerling, “and Auswest only signed in once the Barnett Government guaranteed them many millions of dollars in compensation when the timber runs out”.


“The State Government has signed 8 Investment Security Guarantees with the biggest mills promising them millions of dollars in the event that the Government can no longer supply the many thousands of ancient jarrah and karri trees being logged and milled,” said Ms Beckerling.


“The native forest timber industry is already costing hard working West Australian taxpayers millions of dollars to keep propped up, said WAFA spokesperson Jess Beckerling, it is an unviable industry that needs thorough reform,” she said.


“After decades of clearfelling and widespread overcutting and now the serious impacts of climate change and spread of diseases our forests can't sustain this sort of operation any more. This is an uneconomic proposition now,” she said.


“This is a State Government that offers all the spoils to a few very rich individuals at the expense of taxpayers and the environment,”


“We can be certain that the reopening of Dean Mill today will not be good news for the workers in Manjimup who will be sent home again when Auswest, like Gunns before them, can't make a profit, and takes the massive compensation package and goes home.”


For further comment: Jess Beckerling 0488 777 592