28/09/2007 - 15:20

Chance to table Forest Products Act recommendations

28/09/2007 - 15:20

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Forestry Minister Kim Chance has announced he will submit recommendations from a statutory review of the Forest Products Act that would give the Forest Products Commission greater powers to Parliament "in due course".

Chance to table Forest Products Act recommendations

Forestry Minister Kim Chance has announced he will submit recommendations from a statutory review of the Forest Products Act that would give the Forest Products Commission greater powers to Parliament "in due course".

 

 

The full text of a Ministerial announcement is pasted below

Forestry Minister Kim Chance this week released a report that will significantly enhance forestry management and the forest products industry in Western Australia, and bring positive benefits to the community.

"The statutory review of the Forest Products Act has made recommendations that will help to position the industry to provide significant economic and social benefits and assume a vital role in responding to a number of environmental challenges, including salinity and climate change," Mr Chance said.

"One of the most significant recommendations is that the Forest Products Commission (FPC) should assume the role of lead Government agency for the forest products industry.

"This is a role that has been missing in recent years and industry stakeholders strongly advocated for a lead agency with responsibility for comprehensive policy and strategic development across all sectors of the industry if it is to fulfil its potential.

"The capacity of the forest products industry to bring development and associated benefits to regional areas has been demonstrated around Australia, not least in the Great Southern region of WA.

"Over the coming years, I expect forestry will become integrated with modern farming practices, providing environmental benefits and an alternative income stream for landowners in the changing climate."

The review of the Forest Products Act looked at the need for the functions of the FPC, and its effectiveness, as well as relevant associated issues, after five years of operation. The comprehensive process included two opportunities for public submissions, including comment on the draft report released in July 2006.

"I would like to publicly acknowledge Adele Farina MLC and her review committee, particularly the independent reviewer, Mr Grahame Searle, for their commitment to a major task involving consideration of a number of complex issues," Mr Chance said.

The FPC will become a State Emergency Service (SES) organisation and undertake other enhancements of corporate governance procedures. The FPC Board of Commissioners will still be involved in chief executive officer recruitment and performance, and will be accountable to the Minister.

In addition, greater clarity will be provided with respect to the mix of commercial and non-commercial functions of the FPC, and the financial arrangements associated with them. Several recommendations relate to opportunities for improving the financial prospects of the commission.

As a result of other recommendations, the FPC will be able to buy and sell land for the purposes of its functions, subject to appropriate checks and balances. Most plantation land will be transferred from the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) to the FPC, and the memorandum of understanding between FPC and DEC will provide greater clarity and guidance in regard to their prospective roles.

"A number of amendments to the Forest Products Act giving effect to certain recommendations, and otherwise improving the operation and effectiveness of the FPC, will be presented to Parliament in due course," Mr Chance said.

The review report and the Government's response to the recommendations are available at the FPC website.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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