On a second day of intense questioning in State Parliament, Premier Daniel Andrews couldn’t answer allegations that his new VicForests CEO is telling timber workers Labor’s ban is a purely political decision based on ideology.
The Andrews Labor Government also would not respond to concerns that the mental health of people in the industry was being ignored after fifth-generation timber worker Brett Robin, of Robin’s Logging Contractors, said:
“There will be suicides. No one wants to come out and say it but you can’t rip apart someone’s livelihood, towns and communities and think everyone can just get on with it. This is life destroying.”
The Mental Health Minister labelled Mr Robin’s concerns as “cheap politics”.
The Liberal Nationals have pledged to overturn the ban if elected in 2022.
Daniel Andrews and his Ministers have falsely claimed in Parliament this week that timber resources are “finite” and that there’s not enough native hardwood timber available to meet demand.
Just four in every 10,000 native trees are harvested annually, in an area of less than 0.04 per cent of Victoria’s forest estates, with trees replanted or regenerated once harvest is complete.
Appearance-grade plantation timber takes decades to be suitable for harvest. Not a single hardwood plantation tree planted today will be available to industry by 2030.
Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
Daniel Andrews is hell bent on destroying the industries that create jobs and generate investment for regional Victoria.
The Andrews Labor Government’s decision to end the native timber industry by 2030 has left thousands of timber workers and business owners, many who have worked in the industry their entire life, facing unemployment.
These workers have generations of specialised knowledge of Victoria’s timber industry and difficult landscapes that will be lost forever if the Andrews Labor Government will not reverse its decision.
The Liberal Nationals will fight shoulder to shoulder with Victoria’s timber communities against Daniel Andrews’ destructive and ideologically-driven ban.