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Vic MP Jeff Bourman granted access to documents on native timber shutdown

Jeff Bourman

The State Government in Victoria has agreed to hand over all documents relating to the closure of the native timber industry to Shooters and Fishers Party MP Jeff Bourman. Mr Bourman posted the news on Facebook with the comment that he was looking forward to seeing the documents on 1 December. Source: Timberbiz

His motion that “all documents relating to the arrangements to close the Victorian native timber industry” be tabled by 1 December passed on Wednesday in the Legislative Council.

He told the Council that he wanted the documents relating to the government’s thought process behind why it has decided to close the native timber industry.

“There are a fair whack of people that are involved or could be involved or should have been involved in this,” he said.

He said there was various thoughts on how many people were employed by the native timber industry.

“When you look at maybe how many people are employed by the contractors of VicForests versus how many people are directly downstream and upstream, I figure it is around 20,000 to 21,000 people,” Mr Bourman said.

“That may not be the few thousand people that are down doing the actual logging, but someone has got to put petrol in their cars, someone has got to make their lunch, someone

has got to pay for all these – it has got to come from somewhere. These are jobs. And these are jobs in what is probably one of the hardest times in this state.

“We need to see the data behind this. I want to see what the government considered in doing this. I want to see what the plans are for all the jobs that will go when this finishes, because the plantation timber industry is not in a position to do anything now. It is not too late for the government to reverse its decision.”

“We look forward to having full clarity around the government’s decision to shut down the native timber industry,” Timber Towns Victoria President and Glenelg Shire Deputy Mayor Cr Karen Stephens said.

“Full, open and transparent information is needed that provides assurances to communities, workers and all sectors of the industry that decisions have been made based on evidence, and in the best interest of all Victorians. This decision has far reaching consequences that need to be fully understood and debated,” she said.

“To date, we have not seen any economic or environmental data to support the ban or the full impact on the local, regional and Victorian economies.

“The native timber industry underpins the viability of a number of regional communities and contributes more than $1 billion each year to Victoria’s economy. Thousands of jobs are at risk.”

Timber plays an important role in climate change abatement. Cr Stephens said Timber Towns wants all Victorians to understand the importance of the native timber industry in the fight against climate change and has referenced the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report as evidence of the role timber can play in confronting this challenge.

“Native timber production in public forests facilitates carbon storage and must be taken seriously if Victoria is to tackle climate change. It very much forms an integral part of the fight against climate change and cannot be disregarded,” Cr Stephens said.

Timber Towns Victoria has previously called on the State Government to reconsider its plan to shut down the State’s native timber industry by 2030.