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Victorian Forest Contractors Association Press Release 12/11/ 2010 – Round table, round again

“If Labor is re-elected and we engage in round table discussions, as outlined in their policy, it must be clear to all that a Tasmanian deal is simply unrealistic and irrelevant to the Victorian Timber industry,” said Scott Gentle, Executive Officer for the VFCA.
“The Tasmanian decision is unique to that state. In Victoria the harvest and haulage sector has already undertaken significant reductions over the years. Previous government
decisions on access to resource have impacted on the sector resulting in rationalisation.”
“We have been round and round the table for over 20 years with the forest debate and it is time that some sort of consensus was reached. The problem is that discussions inevitably mean contractor cut backs and job losses. If this process is to be fair dinkum then an end to native forest harvesting should not be on the agenda,” said Mr Gentle.
National parks, state parks, nature reserves and formal reserves account for 3.5 million hectares or 42% of the forest estate. 3.2 million hectares or around 40% is state forest. Of that area timber harvesting is restricted to around 700,000 hectares or about 9% of the forest estate.
“Forest contractors understand the dynamics of living forests and accept that at times changes may be necessary to maintain sustainability. However we have had promises of no job losses for over a decade and if further rationalisation is necessary government must
commit to financially assisting business and families impacted by change.”
“All we want is for contractors to be able to go out to work without the worry of protests, resource changes and political sell offs. It would be nice to not worry about having a job tomorrow. If round table discussions can put an end to this we will be there,” concluded Mr
For further information please contact Scott Gentle on 0438 556 020