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Vote Nationals – the call to save the timber industry in Victoria

With polling having opened in Bairnsdale for this weekend’s State election in Victoria, and the first votes having already being cast, the sitting Member for East Gippsland Tim Bull, says saving the timber industry in East Gippsland is only one reason to vote Nationals. Source: Timberbiz

“We know the timber industry is the backbone of the local economy and this government wants to close it down with no alternate jobs plan – it is just a disgrace,” he said.

“We have a native timber industry with some of the strongest oversights in the world that produces a carbon storing building material that grows back. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change supports the use of timber as a building material and reforestation.”

His comments follow a rally in Morwell on Friday which saw more than 100 forestry trucks and around 1000 people gather in what organisers called a funeral procession to mark the death of timber towns, as workers try to save their jobs in the wake of the State Government’s decision to shut the native timber industry by 2030.

Skidder operator Loressa Williams joined the rally to defend an industry that “makes you work hard, long hours in the bush as a harvester, but I love every day.

“But I haven’t had any work since May because (legal) injunctions have locked us out of coupes,” she told the Weekly Times.

“I’m very frustrated, it has to be overturned otherwise I’ll have to look for something else.”

Morwell haulage contractor Brian Batchelor joined the rally not just for himself but his two boys who also work in the industry out of Yarram.

“I want the Greens to pull their heads in and realise the reality of what’s happening,” he told the Weekly Times.

Many of those at the rally highlighted that their harvesting between 3000 and 6000 hectares of forest each year out of the three million hectares in Victoria.

“Only the Nationals in Government will maintain the timber industry in this state, but that is not the only reason we need to send Daniel Andrews a clear message,” Mr Bull said.

“After saying he would ‘walk with us’ every step of the fire recovery, he has not been back once,” said Mr Bull.

“On top of this, rebuilds important to our tourism industry at Cape Conran, Buchan Caves and the Thurra River bridge remain incomplete three years on with no foreseeable finish date – the Thurra Bridge has not even been started yet.

“With the polls starting to tighten, I am hopeful we can get into power, save the timber industry, fast track these dire recovery projects and deliver on the commitments we have made while Labor hides,” he said.