Premier leaves Heyfield mill workers waiting

Premier Daniel Andrews and Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford were shamed in Parliament today when The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath asked why the Premier had broken his promise to workers at Heyfield’s Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) timber mill.

“Nine weeks ago, Daniel Andrews promised ASH green mill supervisor Anthony Wilkes that he would visit the Heyfield mill by the end of March to meet workers,” Ms Bath said.

“The Premier has broken his promise and in doing so has shown huge disrespect to Heyfield’s workers and this community.”

“The Premier said he wouldn’t let the mill close, but he and Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford have sat on their hands and done nothing to secure the supply of timber that the Heyfield mill needs to remain viable and support 260 jobs.”

“The Premier and Minister should be ashamed that Mr Wilkes had to come to Parliament today so we could remind them of the promises they made to workers and our community.”

Speaking outside Parliament after Question Time, Mr Wilkes said it was disappointing that the Premier appeared to be able to find time for other matters in Gippsland but hadn’t kept his word to ASH workers and the town of Heyfield.

“The Premier has visited other parts of Gippsland at least three times in the past two months since agreeing to visit the Heyfield mill,” Mr Wilkes said.

“In case he can’t remember where we are, I’ve even brought a map today, but nobody from the government wants to know.”