When Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews announced the premature closure of the State’s native timber industry recently, he noted, “It’s not good enough for us to just cross our fingers and hope for the best. We need a plan to support workers, their families and support local jobs.”
He added, “That’s why we’re stepping up to give these workers – and their communities, businesses, and partners along the supply chain – the certainty they deserve.”
Laughable at best. Unfortunately, that “certainty they deserve” does not include a justifiable reason for the decision.
“Because we said so” is not an explanation. It does not delivery any certainty that the people employed by the native timber industry so desperately need.
Forestry Australia says the Victorian Government’s decision to end native forest harvesting at the end of the year is flawed and rather than being based on science, it is a decision motivated by ideology.
Deputy Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Emma Kealy, said much the same when she noted that the Government’s decision was based on politics, not science or fact.
But the State Government is not listening, its decision has been made and that’s that it seems.
So, would it have been so hard for Labor’s Minister for Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio to meet with people in Gippsland this week to discuss the impact of Labor’s decision?
Apparently, it was.
Attending an event in Morwell, Ms D‘Ambrosio refused to meet with workers, who were peacefully demonstrating outside the event.
Member for Morwell, Martin Cameron said he was disgusted that Ms D’Ambrosio turned her back on workers, denying them an audience.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath, said Gippsland native timber workers deserved an audience with Labor MPs to clarify forestry packages and compensation.
There have been suggestions that to avoid the questions from the protestors Ms D‘Ambrosio, after attending a ribbon cutting ceremony, left by a back door.
If that is true it is simply cowardly.
The people of Victoria’s native timber industry deserve to be heard, they deserve a proper explanation, and they certainly deserve to be treated better.