The Victorian Government has increased its timber supply offer to the embattled Heyfield mill, a parliamentary inquiry has heard. Source: Herald Sun
The timber mill is now being offered 80cu m a year of timber from the Gippsland forest over the next three years, an overall increase of 40cu m.
It is still well below the 130cu m the mill’s owner, Australian Sustainable Hardwoods, says is needed every year to remain viable.
VicForests slashed ASH’s timber supply partly due to concerns about protecting the Leadbeater’s possum. The company announced it would close in September next year after the state-owned VicForests earlier this year refused to budge on its offer of 80,000 cubic metres of timber in year one, followed by 60,000 cubic metres in the subsequent two years.
The Parliamentary Inquiry into VicForests Operations heard that the offer had now been slightly increased to 80,000 cubic metres across all three years.
VicForests slashed ASH’s timber supply partly due to concerns about protecting the Leadbeater’s possum.
Opposition agriculture spokesman Peter Walsh said the State Government could save thousands of forestry jobs by reducing the “highly precautionary” harvest exclusion zones.
Mr Walsh said demand had never been higher for Victoria’s high quality timber products.
VicForests did not comment on why the offer had been increased recent weeks.
“The 200m buffer zones were put in place at a time when Leadbeater’s possum numbers were unknown and they were supposed to be reviewed once 200 colonies were found but Daniel Andrews looks hell bent on creating the Great Forest National Park by stealth instead,” Mr Walsh said.