Daniel Andrews plays politics with the lives of Gippsland timber workers

Gippsland timber workers are furious with Daniel Andrews for playing politics over people.

The Nationals Melina Bath, Member for Eastern Victoria Region said protestors locked up equipment and performed a tree sit in a legal timber harvesting coupe in Noojee while Premier Daniel Andrews refused to act.

“Daniel Andrews’ inaction has cost the Robin family business up to $20,000 a day in lost revenue and stopped them meeting their timber harvesting contractual obligations,” said Ms Bath.

“Gippsland timber contractors and their employees were left to suffer on their own while city centric Daniel Andrews hunted green preferences for the federal election.

“Our Gippsland timber industry workers have been held to ransom.

“No matter what the Andrews’ Labor Government says in relation to providing support and certainty to our timber industry, it is just hollow rhetoric.”

Robin Logging Pty Ltd is a family owned and operated Gippsland business legally engaged to harvest a regenerated timber coupe located near Noojee.

When their employees turned up to start work on Monday 6 May they discovered protestors had locked up their harvesting equipment and commenced a tree sits on their worksite.  The protest continued for 12 days.

Ms Bath wrote to the Andrews Labor Government insisting they immediately intervene in the protest.

Ms Bath said her letter has gone unanswered.

“The Andrews Labor Government silence on the protest is deafening,” said Ms Bath.

“They have allowed the protest to drag on, citing a lack of available department resources.

“The Robin family were ignored despite pleading with the Andrews Labor Government to intervene and release the necessary government resources to remove the protestors.

“The Andrews Labor Government sat on their hands and refused to investigate and dispatch the authorised officers.

“Even when assistance was offered from other government departments, Daniel Andrews refused to act.

The protestor’s illegal activity only ended late Friday following an alleged incident with a DELWP helicopter conducting regeneration burns and the protestors’ drone.  The protestors fled the site in fear of repercussions.

Ms Bath said the Andrews Labor Government must stop toying with the livelihood of our timber industry workers.

“Our regional communities and small businesses are hurting.”