Nationals fear for future of timber industry
SHADOW Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh has heaped pressure on the Labor Government for their refusal to rule out a “secret plan” to destroy Victoria’s timber industry.
Asked by The Nationals in Parliament last week to explain media reports Labor would end Victoria’s native timber industry, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford would only say Cabinet hadn’t considered a plan.
Ms Pulford also revealed Labor’s move to expand plantation timber estates had stalled, admitting they hadn’t planted a single tree in the 18 months since committing $110 million to establish new plantations in the Latrobe Valley.
Mill workers, truck drivers and harvesters in North East Victoria and Gippsland are still waiting for Labor to release details of timber availability in its Timber Release Plan which is months overdue, as they enter the harvest season.
“Labor has shown time and time again it won’t support Victoria’s timber industry,” Mr Walsh said.
“Jaala Pulford’s failure to completely rule out a move to end our native timber industry leaves the jobs of tens of thousands of Victorians hanging by a thread.
“Workers and their families rely on the timber industry to pay the bills and put food on the table, but under Labor they don’t know if their jobs are safe.”
Mr Walsh believes it could be only a matter of time before Labor “caves” to seal the death of Victoria’s $7 billion timber industry.
“Daniel Andrews is desperate to hold onto his own job, even if that means making a deal with the Greens that destroys the livelihoods of Victorian timber workers and their families,” he said.
“Daniel Andrews has abandoned regional Victorians at every turn in the past four years.”