In 2021, the Western Australian Government made the historic decision to end native forest logging by the end of 2023.
The ever increasing impacts of climate change, the importance of maintaining biodiversity and forest health, the need for carbon capture and storage, and declining timber yields mean that it is essential that we act now to protect WA’s forests.
The WA Government has made an $80 million commitment to a Just Transition Plan (JTP) focused on supporting workers, businesses and communities of the South West to transition out of native forestry.
The South West Development Commission (SWDC) are core members of the Native Forest Transition Group (NFTG) which was established to assist in the delivery and implementation of the JTP programs.
By participating in the NFTG, the SWDC provides insight into the broader economic vision for the region. The SWDC has also been working with the Warren-Blackwood Local Government Authorities to identify and support the development of economic development initiatives and projects that could deliver employment opportunities in affected South West regions.
SWDC staff form part of the Bunbury and Manjimup-based Native Forestry Transition team, alongside the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI) officers. By partnering with JTSI, the team have helped deliver direct support services to affected timber workers in the region.
The SWDC supports the initiative by facilitating strong and ongoing engagement with affected South West communities throughout the transition period, to ensure regional development outcomes for affected areas and to maintain community confidence.
Woodchips were first exported from the region in the 1970s to supply paper pulp manufacturers.
Large scale bluegum plantations are now supplying woodchips to markets in Japan.
One of the largest integrated softwood milling and processing plants in Australia is located in Dardanup.