Yallourn North Plantation Latrobe Valley Jobs

Labor perpetuates its plantation sham

The Andrews Labor Government and its local representatives are continuing to perpetuate a sham, promoting a so-called “new plantation” program that does nothing to support Latrobe Valley jobs or the timber industry.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien has called out the government for its latest stunt, a media event promoting the planting of blue gum seedlings at Yallourn North.

“The Government needs to come clean – this is not new plantation timber, so in no way does it help provide security of supply for Australian Paper or any other local mill.  This land was recently harvested as plantation by HVP but the Labor Government refused to extend the lease for the Crown land and has now taken on replanting itself through government-owned agency, VicForests.

“For Labor’s Harriet Shing to maintain that this plantation is ‘new’ because it’s been replanted is just bizarre.

“An expanded plantation estate in the Latrobe Valley is an opportunity to increase timber supply in Gippsland, particularly for Australian Paper.  But this stunt doesn’t expand the plantation timber available for industry, it just changes who owns it and at great cost to the taxpayer.

“It’s now two years since this plan was announced and Labor needs to explain where and when it will actually establish new timber plantations to meet the region’s needs.”

Mr O’Brien said the Labor Government had continually let the local timber industry down.

“There are thousands of jobs in Gippsland that rely on the timber industry but Labor continually sacrifices them on the green altar of political expediency.  Cuts to native timber availability have cost jobs in Heyfield and East Gippsland and Labor delayed its timber release plan for a year, creating uncertainty for local contractors and processors.”

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