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Privately-owned wood processing facilities in Gippsland can now apply for up to $5 million from the Federal Government to help them recover from the summer bushfires.

Local MP Darren Chester said processing facilities directly and indirectly impacted by the fires were eligible for support from the Federal Government’s $40 million Forestry Recovery Development Fund.

“Our skilled timber workers played a critical role in the bushfire fight and were essential to the enormous task of clearing the roads and felling dangerous trees for weeks after the fire fronts passed,” Mr Chester said.

“Their industry has been severely impacted by the fires and is also under threat from State Government, so we must stand by them now to help protect their jobs.”

Existing facilities and technologies may be upgraded and new equipment bought to help diversify their operations to better withstand industry upheaval.

Mr Chester said the government investment would help the timber industry to embrace smarter, more efficient practices.

“The timber industry is one of the key pillars of Gippsland’s economy,” Mr Chester said.

“Supporting this industry to be stronger and endure into the future will secure local jobs and help our region to thrive.”

Grants of between $1 million and $5 million will be available over three years to privately-owned wood processing facilities affected by the fires.

The money can be used to:

  • Buy new forestry processing equipment
  • Transport assistance to move salvaged, burnt logs, and
  • Establish storage facilities for processed timber products, fire-affected logs and other forestry products.

Applications are now open and will close at 11pm on October 13, 2020.

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