The Government’s announcement on the Heyfield Mill today poses more questions than it provides answers, says Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
"It’s particularly concerning when mill workers advise both myself and the media they have been told there will be job losses and redundancies after the transition to the new ownership,” Mr Bull said.
Mr Bull said the Government's claim that “no jobs (will be) lost in transition” gave no security beyond the next 2-3 months.
"When asked about longer-term job security, the Minister simply does not answer and all she says is 'we know the industry needs to change', which is hardly comforting,” he said.
"The reality is you cannot cut the timber supply almost in half and keep all the jobs.
"It’s a disgrace the Minister has said this is a 'great day for Heyfield' and a 'great relief' for workers when the Andrews Government has led a process that will result in significant job losses in the town."
Mr Bull said it was disappointing the Government did not even visit Heyfield today, instead doing a press conference on the mill in Churchill.
"Daniel Andrews needs to come clean and admit he is overseeing the loss of 100-plus jobs. The people of East Gippsland are not stupid and will see through these hollow lines,” he said.
"More timber allocation needs to be made and that is what we will do in government, because as VicForests has said, the timber is there, the reason the allocation has been reduced is predominantly what has been put into leadbeater possum reserve and what is forecast to go into leadbeater possum reserve in the future under the current regulations.
"That’s the Government’s own agency saying that on the record, not the Opposition.
“While at the end of the day the mill will remain open, it is incredibly disappointing that not all jobs were saved as they could easily have been.”
Caption: Gippsland East and Gippsland South Nationals MP’s Tim Bull and Danny O’Brien speak with media following the Government’s announcement regarding Australian Sustainable Hardwoods in Heyfield this morning.
Monday, July 3, 2017