Timber industry

Labor’s hypocrisy on native timber exposed

15 November 2019

The Andrews Labor Government has betrayed country communities with its hypocritical decision to end the native timber industry, while claiming to support others.

Labor’s Jobs Minister Martin Pakula was grilled in State Parliament yesterday over his hypocritical statements supporting jobs in the greyhound industry while selling out jobs in Victoria’s native timber industry.

Mr Pakula defended Labor’s senseless decision to close down Victoria’s sustainable native timber industry, but then said of the greyhound racing industry: “No, the government is not in the business of shutting down industries which are the lifeblood of regional communities and which employee thousands and thousands of people.”

Euroa MP and Nationals deputy leader Steph Ryan said the Minister couldn’t have it both ways.

“Our local timber industry is sustainable, responsible and works to world-class environmental standards, yet Labor will shut it down,” Ms Ryan said.

“The Minister can’t claim to back one regional industry, while Labor sacrifices another.

“Victoria’s sustainable native timber industry is the lifeblood of our regional communities in and employs thousands of people across Victoria including Benalla at Ryan and McNulty Sawmillers.

“But for Labor these jobs are not as important as trying to win Greens Party preferences.

“It is shameful that Daniel Andrews and his Labor colleagues are prepared to back one industry, but then sacrifice another.”

More than 94 per cent of Victoria’s forests are unavailable or unsuitable for forestry activity and are locked up in national parks never to be touched.

Just 0.04 per cent of the forest estate is available to industry annually and all is replanted or regenerated.

The Liberal Nationals will stand with timber workers and businesses and have pledged to reverse Labor’s ban on the native timber industry if elected to Government in 2022.

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