Gippsland timber industry city rally demands Government act
BANNERS DEMANDING the Victorian Government act to save Heyfield’s timber mill jobs, community and the town, expressed the frustration of forestry industry workers, contractors and supporters who rallied in Melbourne city streets.
The CFMEU-organised rally saw almost 1000 from across Gippsland march to Parliament House steps, closing down parts of the city in a bid to save 260 jobs at Australian Sustainable Hardwoods’ (ASH) mill which has decided to close due to lack of access to adequate timber stocks.
During the rally the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union called for more logging to be opened up by reducing a 200m exclusion zone around possible sightings of the endangered Leadbeaters’s possum. However, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said no more timber could be provided.
In a rare city show of the industry’s transport resource, over 60 timber jinkers that had been driven to Melbourne to support the rally, lined some of the city’s major streets including in front of Parliament House.
Timber transport contractors, drivers and their families standing alongside their rigs were visibly affected as they shared their stories with other industry colleagues and Melburnians who stopped to enquire about how the mill closure would affect their lives and transport businesses.
Transport operators, many being family businesses and having finance commitments on their rigs, face an uncertain future when the mill commences it closure program later this year.
“This show of support has been a huge boost for the campaign to save the mill and the battle is just beginning,” said Luke Hilakari, Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council
The Union is ramping up its fight to save the mill.
Melbourne roads c-logged up!
ASH distributor Phil McCormack drove one of his company trucks to Spring Street to support of the mills workers.
Conway's driver Mark Tyquin (2nd from left) and partner Jodie, pictured with industry colleagues in front of Parliament House.
Next to an ASH finished product truck Raymond Murphy (Sale) and Kane Gould (Stratford).