Daniel Andrews has been caught out lying to regional Victorians about his Labor Government’s short-sighted decision to shut down Victoria’s native timber industry.
Today in State Parliament, the Premier was asked how much high-quality appearance-grade plantation timber will be ready to harvest when Labor’s native timber ban starts in 2030.
In refusing to answer, Daniel Andrews admitted he knows the truth: not a single hardwood plantation tree planted today will be suitable for harvest by 2030.
Daniel Andrews knows his ban means Victorian consumers will be buying imported timber from countries with lax environmental standards.
Labor’s callous decision also wipes out thousands of jobs in regional Victoria and threatens the existence of towns like Orbost and Heyfield that rely on the timber industry to survive.
Even CFMMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor has labelled Daniel Andrews’ decision “a stupid, heartless decision” that has “sent a chill down the spine of not only timber workers, but every blue collar worker in the state”.
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.
Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
Daniel Andrews has swung the axe on a sustainable, responsible Victorian industry at the cost of thousands of Victorian jobs.
Many of these families have worked in the industry for generations but Daniel Andrews’ shameful act of political bastardy will force them out of their life’s work.
The Andrews Government stood by when Hazelwood power station closed with no plan to fill the loss in energy supply and little assistance for workers left without a job. Now history is repeating itself with our timber industry.
Daniel Andrews’ decision also threatens our capacity to fight bushfires, as forest workers have intimate local knowledge of difficult high country conditions as well as vital equipment useful to fight fires.
The Liberal Nationals will stand shoulder to shoulder with our regional communities and will fight the arrogant Premier for Melbourne every step of the way on Labor’s disastrous plan.