Heyfield Timber Festival

Last Saturday I had the absolute honour of opening the Heyfield Timber Festival. It had been in recess for 28 years until the wonderful community felt that it was time to showcase what they do so magnificently in Heyfield and in Gippsland in relation to native timber—the hardwood timber that we create to use in our homes, in construction and on our floors.

It was just an amazing event, and I would like to pay great tribute to Felicia Stevenson, Stacey Curran, the members of ASH—Australian Sustainable Hardwoods, a business out there—and the business communities who absolutely got behind this fantastic event.

It was run really on a shoestring, but 6000 people came out to celebrate. We had a woodchop, we had a high jump and we had scones, jam and cream. We had bush user groups who had a petition that signed up almost 400 signatures in about 3 hours and that I presented this morning. The government needs to listen and understand that this can be absolutely an ongoing, sustainable industry—world-class regulations—and it needs to overturn that ban.

I congratulate Felicia and all her team, and I call on the government again to listen to the voices of very sensible people and overturn that timber ban.