Na­tion­als fear for fu­ture of tim­ber in­dus­try

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - NEWS -

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.”

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