A round table forum with Gippsland forestry professionals and Nationals MP’s has reaffirmed support for Victoria’s sustainable native and plantation timber industry.
Held at the Gippsland Forestry Hub in Churchill, the group discussed future strategies to support the native timber and plantation industries and the importance of all timber jobs to Gippsland’s economy.
The Nationals remain committed to backing Victorian harvest and haulage workers following the Federal Court’s decision to overturn Justice Mortimer’s judgement against VicForests.
The forum acknowledged the importance of keeping Victoria’s native and plantation timber industry operating at maximum capacity as demand for building and joinery timber continues to increase, fuelled by the housing construction boom.
Unless Victoria has adequate timber resources, housing construction in Victoria will grind to a halt putting downstream jobs at risk.
The Nationals Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie provided the forum a briefing on her private members bill and the subsequent favourable inquiry report. Senator McKenzie’s bill seeks to address legal uncertainty between state and federal laws impacting the timber industry.
“Forestry is a cornerstone industry in Gippsland, employing thousands of hardworking local families and it’s important all levels of government support it through fair and robust legislation and regulations,” Senator McKenzie said.
“Victoria’s forestry industry should not be brought to a grinding halt by green lawfare under the guise of environmental protection, costing jobs and detrimentally impacting our regional communities.”
Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester said “The Nationals remained committed to working with Gippslanders to safeguard forestry industry jobs to secure the future of our local harvest and haulage workers and their families.”
“Timber is the ultimate renewable industry and the industry must be regulated by science not politics.”
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria region, Melina Bath said “Timber jobs in Gippsland continue to face great uncertainty under Daniel Andrews diabolical plan to close the native timber industry in 2030.”
“Victoria’s native timber industry produces world class timber products under the most stringent environmental regulatory framework and The Nationals remain committed to supporting the industry and backing workers.”