Bath opens Australian Timber Trainers Conference

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath has opened the 2023 Australian Timber Trainers Association (ATTA) Conference in Melbourne this week.

In her opening address, Ms Bath highlighted the importance of professional training for project firefighters who form the frontline response in bushfire emergencies.

Ms Bath said, “Victoria is one of the most fire prone regions in the world and maintaining high standards in training must be a priority.  It goes without saying – the better the training, the safer the community.”

“Critical first responder training is in jeopardy due the Andrews Government’s green ideology.

“Not only has the Andrews Government ended our hardwood timber industry, but its woeful inaction has seen access to training coupes denied.

“The situation only be described as Labor’s wicked problem – compromising training has significant repercussions for the safety of rural and regional communities.”

Each year in excess of 500 project firefighters undergo training through a Registered Training Organisation or TAFE in preparation for bushfire season.

Compliance classes include safe handling of specialised machinery, felling dangerous hardwood trees, chainsaw crosscut, and fire management. Training cannot be replicated in a softwood plantation.

Ms Bath said timber trainers play an integral role in the professional competency of frontline responders but need a suitable venue for practical instruction.

“Victoria faces serious consequences of Labor’s blatant refusal to close loopholes in the Timber Code of Practice and halt green lawfare court injunctions.

“Ultimately, any state owned forest can be targeted by green activists and prosecuted by law using the Precautionary Principal.

“Maintaining excellence in safety training for emergency responders must be a priority.

“The Nationals will continue to pressure the Andrews Government to fix the dire problem it’s created, for the sake of bushfire first responders, our environment and rural and regional communities.”