Assurance needed for Benalla’s timber mill
27 April 2018
The Andrews Labor Government is putting Benalla jobs at risk by reneging on a promise to supply extra timber to Ryan and McNulty Sawmillers.
Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh visited Ryan & McNulty’s in Benalla with Member for Euroa Steph Ryan today to discuss the uncertainty surrounding timber contracts for six Victorian mills.
The six mills, known at the G6, have written an open letter to Premier Daniel Andrews seeking clarity on why his government cancelled contract extensions.
Ms Ryan said Labor had gone back on its word by reducing timber supplies for Ryan & McNulty’s and other Victorian sawmills.
“The Premier must explain why he has pulled the pin on these timber supply contracts,” Ms Ryan said.
“The Victorian Government now owns the Heyfield mill in Gippsland and has secured its timber supply, but it has not renewed contracts for other competitor mills across the state,” Ms Ryan said.
“By reducing supply to Ryan & McNulty, Daniel Andrews and the Labor party are risking the ongoing viability of the mill, which employs more than 50 people locally.
“For more than 70 years, Ryan & McNulty’s has been a vital part of Benalla. They have donated generously to community causes and been model employers.
“Daniel Andrews and the Labor party have now pulled the rug out from underneath them.”
Mr Walsh said sawmills were major employers in regional towns like Benalla and for the government to dishonour its agreement with them was unacceptable.
“The Victorian Labor party is so focused on holding seats in inner-city Melbourne against the Greens that it is willing to sell Benalla jobs down the gurgler,” Mr Walsh said.
“Not only has the government locked up timber supplies, it has now reneged on contracts with family owned mills in favour of awarding supply to its own mill in a complete conflict of interest.
“If Daniel Andrews cared about jobs here he would honour the contract arrangements with Ryan and McNulty’s.”