Nats leader hears timber business concerns
Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh, was in Sale today hearing of concerns from local businesses about the future of the timber industry and the local jobs that rely on it.
Mr Walsh was in Sale at the invitation of The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien and after recent reports that the Andrews Labor Government is considering a decision to end the native timber harvesting industry.
Mr Walsh and Mr O’Brien met with Mark Knowles of HydEng in Sale, a hydraulic engineering business that undertakes a significant portion of its work at local mills.
Mr O’Brien said the 14 jobs at HydEng were an example of how the timber industry supports communities far beyond those involved in direct harvesting and milling of native timber.
“These jobs in Sale and many thousands of others in Gippsland are threatened by the Labor Government’s plans, driven by its desperation to ‘out-Green the Greens’ in inner city Melbourne.
“The timber industry supports so many families in Gippsland and to see it shut down would be a travesty for our region. Labor needs to rule out any deal with the Greens to shut down this valuable, sustainable Gippsland industry.”
Mr Walsh said the flow-on effects of any closure of native timber harvesting would be enormous for Gippsland and the north east, including in towns like Sale.
“The Nationals understand and value the people who rely on this industry to make ends meet,” Mr Walsh said.
“Labor claims it’s a party for the workers, but then refuses to support a vital regional industry that provides 50,000 Victorians with good jobs, generating $7 billion a year for Victoria’s economy.
“It’s only a matter of time before Labor caves completely to its Greens coalition partners and seals the death of Victoria’s $7 billion timber industry and the loss of more jobs in Gippsland.”
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien and Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh (right) discuss concerns over the future of the timber industry with HydEng’s Mark Knowles in Sale.