The Andrews Labor Government is riding roughshod over timber workers, businesses and communities it’s destroying with its plan to ban Victoria’s native timber industry in 2030.
Financial assistance to force the industry to ‘transition’ to plantation has been exposed as scraps off the table, with new reports today revealing the Andrews Labor Government’s assistance package is capped at a measly $23,000.
To rub salt in the wound, timber harvesting equipment purchased at a cost of $1 million, will be compensated at a value of $250,000.
The Labor Government’s package would see timber industry employees walk away with $7000. This does nothing to assist workers transition into a new line of work, and offers no assistance in putting food on the table for these hardworking families.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh slammed the Government’s weasel words at a time when Labor’s policies were putting jobs, local businesses and small communities through the wood chipper.
“Generations of Victorians have worked hard to build our local native timber industry into a sector with a strong reputation for sustainability and clean, green products,” Mr Walsh said.
“But Daniel Andrews and his Labor Government are hellbent on destroying it, all to secure green preferences in inner city Melbourne.
“It’s not only local people and businesses that will suffer – the flow-on impacts down the line will be devastating.
“Tens of thousands of Victorian jobs rely on a reliable supply of sustainability harvested, high quality Victorian native timber to create furniture or building materials like window frames, doors and flooring.
“It will also have impacts for consumers at a time when Victorians are conscious of buying Australian-made, sustainably-sourced products.
“Killing off our local industry won’t kill off demand. But it will mean more imports from countries without Australia’s high environmental and ethical standards.”
Member for Narracan, Gary Blackwood said the financial support being offered to industry fell short of incentives offered in 2003 when some licences were voluntarily surrendered.
“In 2003 after Premier Bracks reduced the Industry by 40%, those exiting did so with dignity.”
“Now in 2021 Premier Andrew’s smoke and mirrors transition, promises nothing, not even dignity for our hard working timber families.” Mr Blackwood said.
Shocking revelations last week saw the Andrews Labor Government confirm for the first time that its ‘plan’ to transition the native timber industry to plantation was a sham.
Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath said the Agriculture Minister’s overdue admission that there won’t be enough supply in 2030 to meet demand left thousands of jobs facing the axe.
“These jobs are vitally important for Gippsland families and our regional economies – Labor’s timber ban will hit our communities hard,” Ms Bath said.
“We can’t afford to lose this industry, which is why the Liberals and Nationals have committed to reversing this ban if elected to Government in 2022.”