Labor’s timber wars creating Christmas chaos

The supply of food in Victoria is under threat with timber mills set to run out of supply to produce wooden pallets needed to transport of food and drink for Christmas.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said Labor’s war on the native timber industry is now restricting the distribution of food, beer, chocolate and pharmaceuticals in Victoria.

“Court injunctions brought about by third party litigators exploiting flaws in Timber of Code of Practice 2014 (rev 2021) has all but halted wooden pallet production in Victoria.

“Wooden pallets are a simple, yet incredibly necessary item required to safely transport goods to our supermarkets.

“No timber harvesting means no timber pallet production stops, which in turn disrupts the entire food supply chain.

“When activists place court injunctions on VicForests timber coupes, harvesting operations are suspended until final court determinations, starving the mills of resource and halting production.

“The Nationals continue to demand the Andrews Labor Government fix the glaring flaws in the Timber of Code of Practice to stop this appalling situation occurring.

“NSW introduced legislation to stop this type of green lawfare, but Labor is choosing to allow sustained legal attacks on VicForests to continue.”

Ms Bath said the Dormit Pty Ltd is Australia’s largest manufacturer of wood pallets and its Swifts Creek mill had dwindled to only two days of timber supply.

“The dire situation has enormous implications for our Gippsland communities, if supply runs out employees will be stood down,” said Ms Bath.

“Usually this mill would have in excess of 10,000 tonnes of timber to process, but the barrage of injunctions on timber harvesting coupes has immobilised its access to timber.

“Last week production was halted twice at Swifts Creek, this mill is the towns major employer providing 40 locals with much needed jobs.

“Timber supply has become a day to day proposition – if wet weather continues and trucks cannot access the few operational coupes there are or any other issue is encounter, production will grind to halt.

“Meanwhile Labor is failing to act or condemn these activists for creating such an atrocious situation at the busiest time of year for the distribution of goods.”

Ms Bath said Labor’s flawed forestry plan mandated supply until 2024 when it would begin to step it down – yet here we are in 2021 and the industry is already being starved of supply.

“Daniel Andrews and his Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio’s war on the native timber industry and regional jobs has no limits,” said Ms Bath.

“Make no mistake this situation impacts everyone – timber and mill workers, freight and logistics, retailers and customers and the last thing anyone wants is more job losses or panic buying at Christmas.”