The removal of the native timber industry as planned by the Andrews Labor Government will have a massive impact on local employment and the local economy.
Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, said this was the finding of a report commissioned by East Gippsland and Wellington Councils that showed over 1,100 jobs will be lost and over $300m in economic output per annum removed from the local economy.
“These are staggering figures and does not include the flow on effects that will simply destroy communities like Orbost and Heyfield and impact heavily on many others,” said Mr Bull.
“I commend the two councils for taking this action and getting this work done. I now look forward to them challenging the State to overturn its decision to end the industry, which is the policy of the Liberal Nationals.
“The release of this report comes on the back of the Labor Minister admitting there are no hardwood plantations in Victoria for the industry to ‘transition’ to.
“The term ‘transition’ is a falsity. The reality is hardwood takes around 30-60 years to mature depending on species and conditions, so if there was to be a ‘transition’, coupes would need to be at least 20 years old now. They aren’t and worse still they don’t exist.
“The demand for hardwood is increasing and in fact Planet Ark is telling us to use it as wood is a renewable environmentally friendly resource, but here we are closing it down with no replacement. It will only drive up imports from jurisdictions with less oversight.
“This is about closing down an entire sector with massive job losses in our community at a time when it needs help and support.
“The industry in Victoria cuts down four trees in every 10,000 per year,” he said.
Thursday, 29 April 2021