Gippsland youth have their say on forest future

The opinions of young Gippslanders have been in captured in a report outlining their recommendations to State Government on the future management of forests in Victoria.

Shadow Minister for Public Land Use and The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath was joined by Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh today in Morwell to release the report on the Gippsland Youth Symposium.

The symposium, held in Traralgon and hosted by Ms Bath, saw participants attend from all over Gippsland, including Bruthen in the east through to Drouin in the west.

Ms Bath said the seven recommendations in the report sent a powerful message to Daniel Andrews.

“Gippsland’s young people resoundingly endorsed the native timber industry and the economic and sustainable benefits it provides to regional Victorian communities. 

“They also called on the State Government to implement improved bushfire management, weed and pest control, access track maintenance and support for recreational activities undertaken in our state forests."

Mr Walsh said the opinions of young regional Victorians were an important part of informing the future management of our forests.

"Well-managed forests and a sustainable timber industry underpin strong regional economies in Gippsland," Mr Walsh said.

"There's no one better to inform on the future management of our forests than those who rely on them for the social, environmental and economic benefits they hold.

"It's illogical that the Andrews Labor Government wouldn't seek the views of young people in Gippsland who have grown up in and around our forests. I commend Melina for the work she's done to make sure they have their voice heard."

The Gippsland Youth Symposium was undertaken following an Andrews Labor Government forum held in Footscray early this year which significantly lacked regional representation.

Ms Bath said the report restores balance to consultation and has provided a platform for young Gippslanders to present their opinions to government.

“Young Gippslanders are calling on the State Government to implement a balanced management approach to our forests,” said Ms Bath

“They have emphatically recommended building stronger regional economies through sustainable timber jobs, maintaining access to their recreational pursuits, improved weed and pest control, support for our indigenous culture and maintaining public access to Victoria’s forests.” Ms Bath said.

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