Sham plantation plan threatening survival of jobs, industry and timber communities

The Andrews Labor Government has finally come clean: its sham plantation plan won’t deliver a single new tree for harvesting when Labor axes Victoria’s native timber industry in 2030.

Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas has back-tracked on Daniel Andrews’ claims Labor would replace native timber jobs with “jobs in planting, cutting down and hauling, and processing plantation timber”.

The Minister has finally admitted that not a single plantation tree will be ready for industry by 2030.

Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said Labor’s destructive policy agenda would kill off thousands of jobs, small businesses and small timber communities that relied on the industry for survival.

“Labor’s native timber ban isn’t a ‘transition’ – it’s a death knell. For jobs, businesses and communities,” Mr Walsh said.

“Hardwood plantation timber takes 40 to 60 years to be harvest quality timber, depending on the species, yet the Andrews Government has been desperately trying to convince communities there will be enough timber available when Labor cuts native timber out of the picture in 2030.

“Timber communities like Orbost, Heyfield and Swifts Creek will not survive this ban which cuts out an industry they rely to bring people and their families into town.

“The Liberal Nationals stand side-by-side with the people who rely on the timber industry to make a living and put food on the table. We will reverse this native timber ban if elected to government in 2022.”

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) labelled the Government’s ‘transition’ plan a “sham” and slammed the Minister for lying to the thousands of regional workers, their families and communities that there will be minimal job losses.

Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath said Labor’s destructive plan has only delivered uncertainty, frustration and despair for Gippsland’s native timber industry.

“The Andrews Labor Government has finally admitted its timber plan will kill thousands more Gippsland jobs and lead to increased imports into Victoria,” Ms Bath said.

“At a time when every job is absolutely critical in regional Victoria, Labor is committed to pushing timber workers closer to mental and financial ruin.”

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