Labor turns it back on Gippsland jobs
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, has expressed his anger at the Melbourne Labor Government’s complete disregard for Gippsland jobs given the threat of the closure of Heyfield’s Australian Sustainable Hardwoods timber mill.
“I’m angry and getting angrier by the day. This mill is under threat because the Andrews Labor Government refuses to supply enough timber to the mill to keep it viable.
“There’s enough timber to go around. Just two years ago, ASH and VicForests, the state-owned business that supplies timber mills with native hardwood, reached agreement on a supply deal of 155,000 cubic metres. Now with Labor in power, VicForests is only offering 80,000.
“There’s many hundreds more jobs at stake in Gippsland if this mill closes – in harvesting, trucking and other support industries. And the Heyfield mill supports a further 7000 jobs in timber manufacturing in Melbourne alone.
“But Labor is prepared to stand by and let these jobs go. Daniel Andrews’ Minister won’t even return the mill owner’s calls, let alone meet with them.
“This threat comes just 10 weeks out from the closure of the Hazelwood power station with at least 1000 jobs to go there.
“Labor made no attempt to save the Hazelwood jobs, so it’s particularly galling to hear today that Labor will tip in $210 million to save 500 jobs at Portland’s aluminium smelter. I don’t begrudge those workers the good news but why won’t Daniel Andrews fight for Gippsland jobs? It seems there’s always winners and losers with him.
“He can save the jobs of Heyfield mill workers if he wants to. Just stand up to the Greens and provide the timber and it won’t cost Victorian taxpayers a cent.”