Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) management met with Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Peter Walsh, and local MP, Tim Bull, at the Heyfield mill on Tuesday morning.
Mr Walsh said there was no doubt a change in government policy on timber supply has led to this situation of uncertainty around the mill’s future.
“There were contracts on the table at the 2014 election for the quantity of timber that ASH is seeking to remain in business and the only reason it is not there now is a change in policy and that needs to change back. The resource is there,” Mr Walsh said.
Mr Bull said: “VicForests itself has stated the reason the timber supply offer has reduced is the additional areas that have been placed into reserve primarily for leadbeater possum habitat.”
“This means we’ve had a net loss of resource and when this occurs, something has to give,” Mr Bull said.
“The Government can solve this; all it needs is the will to do so.
“The company has discussed longer-term supply options and while that needs to take place, a short-term solution for timber supply needs to be reached and that is what the Government must commit to.”
Also in attendance were Danny O’Brien, Member for Gippsland South, and Melina Bath, Upper House Member for Eastern Region, who have also been strong advocates for the continuation of the mill’s operations.
Caption: Nationals MPs Danny O’Brien (Gippsland South), Melina Bath (Eastern Region), Peter Walsh (Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Agriculture) and Tim Bull (Gippsland East) discuss the Heyfield mill’s future with Australian Sustainable Hardwoods chief executive officer, Vince Hurley, on Tuesday.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017