The WA Greens have made fresh claims that native forests are worth more to the taxpayer left standing than if they are logged, prompting a furious response from foresters.
The Greens made the claims after candidates for the Upper and Lower Houses of State Parliament, Giz Watson and Nerilee Boshammer, met Labor counterparts and supporters in Bridgetown on Sunday.
A December 2012 study from the Australian National University showed WA could make up to $400 million a year by ending logging, WA Forest Alliance spokeswoman Jess Beckerling said.
ANU associate professor Andrew Macintosh carried out the study for the Greens.
The study says WA could sell carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol, or the new Australian Carbon Farming Initiative, which offers rewards for programs such as tree planting.
However, the State-owned Forest Products Commission underlined uncertainties about the carbon price accounting, dismissing the ANU paper as a “theoretical exercise”.
WA Institute of Foresters chairman John Clarke rejected claims that the FPC ran at a loss.
WAFA estimates the loss at a cumulative $106 million since 2000, but Mr Clarke said the FPC made a profit of about $5 million in 2012 after adjusting for losses from pine plantations.
An FPC spokeswoman said the ANU paper also failed to account for costs associated with ending native forest logging.
She said in 2004 it cost the WA Government about $170 million to restructure the industry and compensate local businesses and communities. The WAFA proposal would devastate Manjimup, Pemberton, Nannup and Greenbushes, which all relied on logging.