The State Government in Victoria says it is actively engaging with Opal Maryvale Mill to minimise job impacts from the timber shortage and accelerate the mill’s transition away from native timber harvesting. Source: Timberbiz
It says Opal has given assurances that there will be no immediate job losses before Christmas.
The government says it is currently exploring with Opal pathways to defer any potential stand downs and redundancies for as long as possible beyond Christmas to give workers additional certainty and will continue to engage with stakeholders on options to address timber shortages and source alternative supply.
The State Government says it is dedicated to supporting timber workers as the state transitions away from native timber harvesting.
During this challenging period, the government, which is committed to closing the native forestry industry by 2030, says it will continue to provide support to sawmills and forest contractors to ensure workers are retained and paid.
To provide industry certainty, VicForests will be resourced to continue support payments to contractors and mills, securing mill and harvest contracting businesses and their workers. Eligible businesses which have not yet applied are encouraged to do so.
The State Government says it will immediately establish a new Worker Support Service in the Latrobe Valley to support workers who may be affected in future.
Despite these challenges, the government says it is getting on with the job of delivering the Victorian Forestry Plan with more than $200 million in transition and investment support to timber businesses, workers and communities.
This includes more than $85 million in funding for local strategies, community development, and business transition and innovation.
It also says it is investing $120 million in a new plantation estate in Gippsland to support the sustainable future of forestry.
More information on Victorian Forestry Plan business and community support is available at www.vic.gov.au/forestry