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Forest activitists turn their hands to vandalism in Victoria

The message painted on forestry machinery in the Daylesford area.

Protesters have escalated their attacks on Victoria’s forestry industry as they move to target both private native forestry and plantations, according to Forest and Wood Communities Australia. Source: Timberbiz

FWCA executive officer Michael Harrington said protestors, emboldened by the end of public native forestry and their misguided ideology, have escalated their attacks on Victoria’s forestry industry.

“Their irrational crusade extends beyond shows no sign of stopping as they move to target both private native forestry and plantations, disregarding the fact that these operations are conducted sustainably, in accordance with strict regulations,” Mr Harrington said.

He said contractors legally engaged to do storm clean-up and reduce fire fuel loads in the Daylesford area have had machinery worth up to a million dollars smashed, spikes driven into timber and threatening messages painted on their machinery including “Whether it be Vicforest or FMM – if you destroy our forests – you kill our koalas and you become a target”.

“This behaviour is unfortunately quietly supported by many within the state Labor government as they refuse to publicly denounce this illegal, threatening and dangerous behaviour,” Mr Harrington said.

“Meanwhile, the Victorian State Labor government’s abandonment of forestry contractors is a farcical disgrace.

“Instead of standing up for hardworking families, they cower before the Greens and LEAN (Labor Environment Action Network), leaving businesses uncompensated and vulnerable to weaponised and baseless investigations if they dare speak to media about their experiences.”

Mr Harrington said that contractors and their families had spoken on condition of anonymity to FWCA.

There were multiple experiences where contractors were informed by government and transition/compensation authorities they were eligible for compensation and receiving confirmation via test bank transfer payments of $0.02 deposited into their accounts, and then informed a short time later they would not be receiving any compensation.

“It’s a cruel joke at the expense of hardworking Australians who have dedicated their lives to sustaining Victoria’s forestry sector,” Mr Harrington said.

“The consequences of these reprehensible actions are far-reaching and dire.

“Entire communities, built on the backbone of the forestry industry, face the spectre of unemployment and economic ruin. The social fabric of these regions is torn asunder, as families are left to fend for themselves in the wake of government betrayal and environmental extremism.”

Mr Harrington said that amidst this turmoil, the need for a staunch defence of Victoria’s forestry heritage has never been more urgent.

“It’s time to reject the radical agenda of environmental extremists and hold the government accountable for its complete disdain for working families. Forestry is not only an economic necessity but also a proud renewable tradition that must be upheld for the prosperity of future generations,” he said.

“The assault on Victoria’s sustainable native timber sector by government bureaucrats angling for their next promotion and radical environmentalists set on destroying any industry that offends them – must be met with unwavering resistance.

“It’s time for the state Labor government to stand up for Victoria’s remaining forestry sector, for the hardworking men and women who depend on it, and ensure those that are being made redundant or are leaving the industry to pursue other opportunities are looked after and compensated in a just and supportive way.

“Unfortunately, the absence of extensive further compensation and community recovery commitments in this current state budget are just another betrayal of working-class families and an affront to the prosperity of our state and nation.”