Thank you VicForests – Members Statement

Melina BATH (Eastern Victoria) (10:01): On International Day of Forests I thank VicForests, the state-owned organisation established 20 years ago to manage the native timber industry. It has been my pleasure over my tenure here to meet many VicForests staff and note their passion for the environment and for the coexistence of a sustainable timber industry. They are professional. They have expertise in surveying and planning for the forests. What really distresses me and them so greatly is that this government has set the demise of the timber industry. It has shut down VicForests and therefore will send them to the unemployment line if they cannot get into the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action as a sidestep.


It also frustrates them and me that this government has been silent on the closing of the loopholes in the native timber code of practice, it has enabled litigation by wilderness organisations and it has then gagged VicForests from speaking out in its defence. It is not defending the fact that VicForests has had to spend taxpayer funds in order to defend this litigation. It has ringbarked the native timber industry. It has increased our risk to bushfires: there will not be the track maintenance, there will not be the heavy industries. The Nationals continue to support all of scientists and our people that work in the forests, and we will continue to support the active management of the environment.