A research hub for the timber industry won’t save the tens of thousands of jobs that will be lost as a result of the Andrews Government’s green agenda.
Labor will ban Victoria’s sustainable, responsible native timber industry in 2030, axing tens of thousands of jobs that rely on the $7.32 billion industry.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said Labor’s National Institute for Forest Products Innovation, announced today, missed the mark.
“The Agriculture Minister claims this research hub will ‘grow’ timber jobs but it’s Labor that’s responsible for sending Victorian timber workers to the unemployment line,” Mr Walsh said.
“What Victoria’s sustainable, responsible timber industry really needs is for timber to be made available to secure the tens of thousands of jobs that it already supports.
“Timber contractors and harvest and haulage operators are going to the wall while the Andrews Government delays the release of timber coupes assessed after the January bushfires.
“Already more than 100 Gippslanders are out of work and 80 machines are parked up in Gippsland yards because the Andrews Labor Government refuses to release more timber coupes.
“With almost half a million in finance payments due every month on these machines that can’t work, Labor’s destructive policy is forcing Victoria’s timber industry to its knees.
“The timber is available. What’s missing is the Andrews Labor Government’s support of this $7.32 billion industry and the 20,000 Victorians it employs.”
Victoria has 7.8 million hectares of forests, and more than 94 per cent of that is either unsuitable or unavailable for timber harvest because it’s already in national parks or other reserves.
Annually, Victoria’s timber industry has access to just 0.04 per cent of the forest estate, with trees replanted and regenerated once harvest is complete.
Peter Walsh MP
Shadow Minister for Agriculture