Senator for WA Scott Ludlam has put forest conservation at the centre of the WA by-election campaign, visiting the Challar forest blockade and climbing (with substantial assistance) to a forest protection platform 40 metres up a 400 year-old Karri tree.
Senator Ludlam joined local conservationists who have been defending the Challar Forest since November to protect it from logging. "I think many people will be appalled to realise that we still allow the felling of trees that have stood for twice and three times as long as the city of Perth has existed," Senator Ludlam said.
Senator Ludlam warned that Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s new war on Australian forests would drive iconic species like the Carnaby's cockatoo and the ring tail possum ever closer to extinction.
“We have enough plantation timber to meet Western Australia's timber needs; there is no longer any need to log our native forests,” he said.
In 2013 Premier Colin Barnett signed off on a potential doubling of forest logging in the south-west of WA under the draft Forest Management Plan.
“This is heartland issue for Western Australians. The Premier and Prime Minister's attitude confirms that these are the most anti-environmental governments in modern political history, said Senator Ludlam.
To coincide with the visit to Challar, Senator Ludlam launched the Greens plan for forest protection and local employment initiatives to make the best use of the plantation estate including kickstarting a local fast-build modular housing industry.
"I want forest protection and sustainable jobs in the south-west to be front-of-mind when people come to vote on April 5," Senator Ludlam said.