Local MP Darren Chester is today hosting the Federal Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries as he meets timber industry representatives in Gippsland still reeling from the Andrews Government decision to halt all logging in native forests by 2030.
Federal MP Darren Chester arranged the visit so Senator Jonathon Duniam could hear firsthand from industry leaders about the impact of the State Government decision.
The first stop on Senator Duniam’s visit was Australian Sustainable Hardwoods’ (ASH) mill in Heyfield.
“Communities across Gippsland, like the rest of Victoria, are reeling from this decision,” Mr Chester said. “It is terrible news for hard working families in the timber industry, our timber towns and small business owners.
“Victoria has a vast reserve of national parks with strict environmental protections. Our state’s timber industry is the most environmentally sustainable native timber harvesting industry in the world, with value-adding occurring in timber manufacturing facilities in Gippsland.
“The ASH mill at Heyfield is just one example of a timber mill that has a clear commitment to sustainability and responsibly harvesting timber. The mill has made a significant investment in new technology and has remained a key local employer.
“Timber is a renewable resource. Timber production and recreational activities, like four-wheel-driving, camping and hiking, can co-exist in our well-managed forests.
“The timber sector is a major employer and many mills and haulage companies have been run by the same family for decades.
“This visit is an important opportunity for us to show the timber industry that the Federal Government will stand by them and fight this decision together with them. There’s been no consultation, no warning and the Victorian Labor Government clearly has no understanding of this sustainable industry.”
“This decision by the Andrews Labor Government undermines Gippsland’s proud history of supplying world-class timber products from a renewable resource.
“I won’t give up on local jobs and our small communities and, together with my state National Party colleagues and industry leaders, will fight this decision.
“It’s going to be a long battle, but one we need to fight to save our timber jobs, our timber towns and our sustainable timber industry.”