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December 9, 2011

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester is supporting a petition to highlight the valuable contribution made by Australia’s timber industries.

The online petition was launched by Tasmanian Senator and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry Richard Colbeck.

Mr Chester said the timber harvesting and related industries were critical to the future of Gippsland but were at risk under a Labor-Greens Government.

“Despite years of jobs losses in the industry as Labor and the Greens have combined to force cut backs, the timber sector is still a vital part of the Gippsland economy,” Mr Chester said.

“Communities like Orbost and Heyfield rely on sustainable timber harvesting and timber processing businesses to provide employment to local people.

“Traditional industries are under threat from Labor’s policies which are being dictated by the city-based Greens.

“The Greens are desperate to stop all harvesting of native timber but any such move would have severe implications on employment opportunities and the economy of several Gippsland communities.”

Senator Colbeck, who visited Gippsland in August to speak with timber industry representatives, said there has never been a more important time to stand up and demonstrate support for Australia’s forestry industries.

“I am increasingly concerned that the good stories about forestry are drowned out by campaigns based on half-truths and fiction,” Senator Colbeck said.

“The latest goal appears to be shutting down all native forest activity and there is a lot of frustration among forest communities that they are not being heard and that green groups are dominating the corridors of power.

“I believe we need to keep highlighting the many positive contributions that can be brought on by active native forestry management such as greater carbon absorption, and bushfire mitigation; provision of renewable resources for construction, manufacturing and energy generation; and employment and wealth generation.”

“I will table this petition to ensure our views are brought to the attention of the Labor-Greens Government.”

Gippslanders who wish to sign the online petition can do so at:

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