Timber workers and their communities have been served a knock-out blow by the Andrews Labor Government through its announcement that the native timber industry shut down will be brought forward to 1 January 2024.
Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien called on the Andrews Labor Government to explain what action it will take to replace the thousands of jobs being cut from our local communities by this decision.
“This announcement will not only destroy the native timber industry but be devastating for many local communities and the families within them as well.
“Gippslanders are already facing job losses from Hazelwood, with Yallourn to come, we’ve struggled through the shutdown of white paper manufacturing at Maryvale and now the timber industry will be shut down in less than six months.
“What a farce. What a disgrace. And what better evidence that the Labor Party has turned its back on blue-collar workers in favour of inner-city green votes.”
Mr O’Brien said aside from providing jobs to many rural communities, the timber industry and its sustainable practices help maintain our forests and mitigate bushfire risk.
“The manpower and heavy machinery provided by timber workers increase our capacity to fight bushfires – without these our forests and small towns will be left at great risk.
“The decision to shut down this sustainable industry is nothing short of political posturing that will achieve nothing but heartache for our small-town communities in the long run and no net benefit for the environment.
“Make no mistake, hardwood timber will still be available in Australia – only now it will be imported from less-well managed forests overseas.
“Not only will our communities hurt and our bush be left to burn uncontrolled, but the impact on overseas native wildlife like orangutans will also be disastrous.”