Nationals MP’s welcome Federal Court judgement on VicForests

Gippsland timber jobs are more secure following the announcement the full bench of the Federal Court unanimously upheld VicForests appeal against a single judge’s decision a year ago.

The initial ruling forced timber harvesting operations to cease across many coupes in Victoria and was starving the industry of resources.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said the verdict was vindication for all our hardworking timber and forestry workers.

“Timber jobs in Gippsland were facing great uncertainty and I welcome the Federal Court upholding VicForests appeal,” said Ms Bath.

“Victoria’s sustainable native timber industry produces world class timber products under the most stringent environmental regulatory framework.

“Wrongly labelling native timber harvesters work as illegal was nothing short of unfair and unjust.

“Our regional forestry agreements provide a robust operational and environmental framework for harvesting to proceed all while protecting threatened species.

“Victorian timber is the ultimate sustainable resource – instead of destroying local timber jobs, as a community we should be supporting, embracing and promoting the industry.”

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester also welcomed the news that VicForests has won its appeal and can now recommence its logging activity.

“This is a victory for local sawmill operators, harvest and haulage contractors and their employees who didn’t deserve to be hung out to dry,” said Mr Chester.

“This issue has gone on for far too long and halted harvesting operations impacting on sawmills and contractors who were not getting their contracted volumes for the season.

“This week’s decision is a common sense ruling for local jobs here in Gippsland.”

Mr Chester and Ms Bath said they remained committed to working with locals to safeguard forestry industry jobs in Gippsland so that timber workers and their families have a secure future.

Ms Bath said, “While the high court’s decision has been a win for timber jobs, Victoria’s sustainable timber industry remains in serious jeopardy with the Andrews Government planning to shut the industry in 2030.

“Without a sustainable native timber industry, Victoria will be forced to imported rainforest timber from third world countries that are not harvest under the same strict environment standards.

“The Nationals remain committed to supporting Victoria’s native timber workers and overturning the Andrews Labor Government’s diabolical plan to shut our vital industry”, Ms Bath said.