07 November 2019

Victoria puts axe to native forestry industry

The Victorian Government’s decision to cease all native forest harvesting in state forests by 2030, wiping out 4,700 jobs in the state and nearly $300 million from the economy is a devastating decision.

Minister for Agriculture, Bridget McKenzie said the decision by the Victorian Government demonstrated a complete lack of respect for regional Victoria and ignorance for the forestry industry.

“With one bad decision, the Victorian Government is casting aside an entire industry and workforce,” Minister McKenzie said.

“I grew up in a logging town, and I understand the industry is underpinned by a triple bottom line framework. The lack of support and commitment to this sustainable industry is strongly condemned.”

Minister McKenzie said the decision will take away thousands of Victorian families supports.

Native forestry is a sustainable industry, the average harvest area over the past five years has been 0.04% of the total publicly owned native forest in the state, but it contributes more than $297.3 million annually to the economy.

“It’s a clean, green, sustainable, well-managed resource,” Minister McKenzie said.

“The decision today shows that the Victorian Government doesn’t care about these families in regional towns, 4,700 people will be out of work and this will have serious flow on effects for the state’s regional economy.

“Our beautiful natural hardwood is in demand and for good reason. It’s a sustainable resource when managed well. The short sightedness of this Labor Government is breathtaking.”

Assistant Minister for Forestry Jonno Duniam said it was clear that Premier Daniel Andrews and his Ministers were selling out workers in regional communities simply to appease the inner-city Greens.

“This decision will have a devastating impact on hard working Victorians in the forest industry, their families and the regional communities they live and work in,” Senator Duniam said.

“This shows complete and utter disdain and contempt for an industry that the Andrews Government should be supporting and should be proud of.

“Every tree that is harvested as part of native forestry in Victoria is regrown. Where do the inner-city enviros think their timber furniture and timber decking for their sustainable living comes from?

“It is clear that the Victorian Government did not heed the lesson from the Federal Election, instead ignoring the hard working, quiet Australians in favour of the loud minority.

“The Australian Government has always supported the renewable, sustainable native forestry industry in Victoria and our policy for forestry is to ensure both strong plantation and native forest sectors.

“Today’s decision by the Andrews Government undermines good-faith negotiations that have been underway between the Commonwealth and State Government on the Victorian Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs).

“The RFAs ensure the delivery of environmental, economic and social outcomes in our native forests, and importantly provide certainty to industry. For the sake of Victoria’s native forestry industry our Government will continue to seek to continue the RFAs for as long as the native forestry industry continues in Victoria.

“Unlike the Andrews Government and its Ministers, the Morrison Government backs our forestry industry and the families and regional communities it supports.”