14 December 2021

You can’t trust Labor on forestry

The Victorian and Western Australian Labor governments have failed to produce even a shred of evidence or modelling to support the shutdown of their native timber industries, adding to concerns Labor is not committed to forest industries.

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said it was now over a month since a request was made for the science and evidence under the Regional Forest Agreements.

“The decisions taken by the Victorian and Western Australian governments will impact on the lives and livelihoods of thousands of timber workers across those states,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“It is reasonable to expect that these decisions were taken with the best available science, evidence and modelling available – information the public should be able to see for themselves.

“With a month passed since asking for this data and nothing being provided, I can now only assume that no such evidence was considered.

“These were clearly political decisions made by inner city MPs, with no regard for the devastating results for regional families, employment, the environment and especially science.

“They will ultimately lead to demand for timber products and jobs being pushed offshore to countries where they do not have the same high environmental standards as Australia.

“It is highly likely that some countries looking to supply timber to Australia are undertaking illegal logging activities, with devastating impacts on the environment.

“The policies of Labor are also part of the reason there isn’t enough timber available to builders – because the forests are being locked up.

“While the Morrison Government is trying to get more timber into the supply chain, the Labor party is putting in place policies that shut the industry down.”

Assistant Minister Duniam said the Federal Labor party were clearly abandoning timber workers in exchange for green votes.

“While the Morrison Government backs-in and invests in our forest industries, Federal Labor are at risk of falling into the welcoming arms of the Greens by failing to stand up for this industry,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“Not only do they not even have a plan on forestry – they aren’t even willing to call out bad forestry policy when they see it.

“If Federal Labor support our forest industries, they should be demanding their state counterparts reverse their destructive bans on native forestry.

“If Federal Labor want more wood supply in the construction sector, if they actually want more jobs in regional communities, if they want forestry to assist with carbon abatement, then they must reverse Labor’s destructive decisions.

“Now is the time for Labor to make their intentions on forestry clear – they owe that to timber workers and regional communities.

“If they don’t do this, they have sold out forest industries, communities, and workers across the country.”

  • Assistant Minister Duniam wrote to the Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, the Hon Lily D’Ambrosio MP, and the Western Australian Minister for Forestry, the Hon Dave Kelly MLA, on 10 November 2021 requesting that the evidence and modelling informing those decisions be provided to the Federal Government under the Regional Forest Agreements by 26 November 2021.
  • The Federal Government has not received a response to either of those letters.