Timber plantation industry ringbarked in Central Gippsland

Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath has slammed the Andrews Labor Government’s continued failure to support our local timber industry.

Twelve months ago the Andrews Labor government committed $110 million to establish more timber plantations in Victoria.

Ms Bath recently raised the issue in parliament, seeking an explanation on why the government had failed to support timber industry jobs.

“Hundreds of hectares of state-owned land in the Latrobe Valley that, until very recently, was used to grow plantation timber, now lies fallow,” Ms Bath said.

“There has been a deafening silence from the government despite key industry stakeholders desperately working to secure more land, more trees and more jobs.

“The Andrews Labor government has failed to keep its promise to work with industry to expand Central Gippsland’s plantation estates and plantation-gown timber.”

Labor’s Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford recently promised: “we will certainly be working very closely with industry and the community to increase the amount of plantation timber available to industry”, but has failed to follow through.

Nationals Candidate for the Morwell and former Australian Paper Projects Accountant Sheridan Bond said the growing global demand for wood products meant there was a bright future for the local industry.

But an ongoing failure of the Andrews Labor Government to support local timber jobs was putting that future at risk.

“Local plantation contractors supply to saw millers, panel producers and paper mills, including Australian Paper, and a lack of planting now will have enormous ramifications for the supply chain in future,” Ms Bond said.

“Workers in the plantation timber industry have not heard a whisper from the Andrews Labor Government.

This is a government efficient at releasing media statements, but pathetic at delivering jobs in the timber industry”.