Gippsland Nationals’ show of support for timber workers

The Nationals Gippsland team says ‘lives and livelihoods’ will be destroyed if the Andrews Government’s plan to shut down the native hardwood timber industry by 2030 proceeds.

In a strong show of support for Victoria’s sustainable native timber industry, The Nationals Federal MP Darren Chester; Victorian Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh; Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath; Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull and Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien all attended the Heyfield Timber festival.

The timber festival attracted a huge crowd of locals and visitors to the region and was officially opened by Melina Bath MP and Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye.

Ms Bath said, “The success of the Heyfield Timber Festival is testament to the wide-spread support for Victoria’s sustainable native timber industry and timbers jobs and sent a clear message to the Andrews Government.

“Heyfield is a proud timber town and has a long history of producing finest hardwood in the nation,” said Ms Bath

“Festival organisers are to be congratulated for organising a dynamic showcase of the timber industry and the Heyfield community.

“The Nationals are committed to saving timber jobs and supporting the industry – we will reverse Labor’s diabolical decision to shut down native timber harvesting in Victoria if elected on 26 November.”

Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said timber is the ultimate renewable resource and its carbon capture properties are well documented – Labor should be embracing the industry, not ring barking it.

“All old growth forest is already protected in Victoria; harvesting of native timber occurs on regenerated trees in designated coupes on a 40 – 60 year rotational basis”.

“Labor’s plan to shut the native timber industry is not based on science but flawed green ideology.

“The Nationals will continue to back Gippsland timber jobs and champion timber towns like Heyfield.”

Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester said the Victorian Premier must revisit his position to close Victoria’s native timber industry.

“We need to produce more of our own critical supplies as a nation and shutting the native timber industry in Victoria will leave us exposed to fluctuations in foreign markets, and forced to import timber,” he said.

“Victoria is home to a world-class, environmentally-sustainable, highly regulated and innovative native hardwood timber industry that should continue.

“Our skilled timber workers should be utilised to maintain bush access tracks, reduce fire risk, and protect regional towns and critical infrastructure through fuel reduction and strategic harvesting activities.”

Ms Bath said it’s concerning that there isn’t enough plantation timber in the ground to even supply the Maryvale paper or sustain the construction industry in Victoria into the future.

“Labor’s native timber ban will inflict enormous job losses across Gippsland and Victoria – it must be reversed.