The Andrews Governments early closure of Victoria’s native timber industry is false environmentalism, false economy and false hope for workers said Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Public Land Use and The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath.
Ms Bath today said the Andrews Government abandonment of timber workers is shameful, labelling it’s retraining vouchers for displaced workers – an insult.
“Labor has delivered the final nail in the coffin for Victoria’s native timber industry – this decision will destroy communities and the livelihoods that forestry underpins.
“Today is a grim day for timber workers and their families who have been callously ignored – the Andrews Government has flatly refused to sit at the table and negotiate.
“Daniel Andrews is punishing regional Victorian communities for his government’s failure to control radical green agenda.
“Victoria is broke – at a time when the Andrews Government is mired in debt it is eliminating a sustainable industry with enormous economic generating capacity.”
Victoria’s native forest industry operating at pre 2019 levels, employed 3000 direct workers and had an economic value in excess half a billion dollars annually.
The industry produced materials for flooring, furniture, and staircases manufacturers. Lower quality timber created jobs in pallets and fencing, with the residual sent to paper production.
Ms Bath said Victoria had a world class and environmentally sustainable hardwood timber industry that’s been obliterated by the ideologically driven Andrews Government.
“Timber is the ultimate renewable resource, and its carbon capture and storage properties are widely documented – Labor should be embracing the industry, not ring barking it.
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly states that a sustainably managed native forest system which traps carbon and is used in industry mitigates climate change.
“The area of public native forest available for harvesting in Victoria was 5 per cent and each year only around .03 per cent of that area harvested – the remaining 95 precent was protected, never to be harvested.
“At a time when state debt has spiralled to levels never seen before – Labor’s decision exposes Victoria forcing the state to import all hardwood timber supplies from third world countries.
“A highly-regulated native timber industry will always remain the best option, instead Victoria has become a state reliant on the importation of rain forest timber from countries devoid of environmental standards and regulation.
“Life is getting so much harder under Labor, and Daniel Andrews has swung the axe on our country communities, punishing regional Victorians for his own incompetencies.”