Forestry contractors from Gippsland have taken their fight to protect their industry and jobs to Canberra.
Reynolds Logging managing director Reece Reynolds (centre left) from Buchan South and Blair and Campbell managing director Adam Campbell (centre right) from Bruthen were a delegation which went to the nation’s capital to draw attention to the crisis facing their industry as a result of the bushfires
For those from East Gippsland, the bushfires have exacerbated the uncertainty for their future with the Andrews Government last week terminating their contracts and a lack of detail about the government’s plan to end native forest harvesting by 2030.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester and Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Senator Jonathon Duniam (far right) at Parliament House met with the delegation.
Mr Chester has backed the timber industry’s efforts to find ways to retain workers, including by salvaging native timber from bushfire affected areas.
“We need to work urgently with businesses and industries that have been directly impacted by the fires, including the timber industry, to help them to recover as quickly as possible and give their employees job security,” Mr Chester said.
“Skilled timber industry workers have been among the unsung heroes of our bushfire fight and recovery. We need to stand by them and their families, acknowledge the contribution they have made and do everything we can to see that they pull through this crisis together with the rest of Gippsland.”
Reynolds Loggings has been involved with fire suppression work since late November with two harvesters, a dozer and a skidder working seven days a week. That work is expected to finish within weeks. Blair and Campbell has also supported the bushfire effort for the past eight to nine weeks.
Mr Chester and Senator Duniam were presented with workers vests with ‘Hi Viz Hero’ written on them. The industry has created the vests to acknowledge the contribution of harvest haulage contractors during the bushfires.
The contractors worked with their trucks alongside fire fighters to create fire breaks and clear roads, including undertaking the work required to reopen the Princes Highway to traffic.