As Parliament resumes today, Member for Morwell Russell Northe has taken the first opportunity to highlight local concerns following the State Government decision to ban the logging of native timber by 2030.
“My local community was absolutely gutted at this announcement last week”, Mr Northe said, speaking from Spring Street this afternoon, “this decision has created much anger, anxiety and uncertainty”.
“There are a vast amount of people in the Latrobe Valley who are employed directly and indirectly in the timber industry and the impacts of this policy will far-reaching”.
“There are already heavy restrictions on this industry with regards to native timber harvesting and it simply doesn’t make sense that even though these products will still be required into the future, it won’t be available in Victoria”.
This decision means timber will need to be imported from other jurisdictions who don’t have the same stringent forestry standards that exist in Victoria. “Surely, this isn’t a good outcome from an environment or sustainability point of view”, Mr Northe laments.
“We have already observed what happens when there is a shortage of timber supply, with prices escalating dramatically in recent times, putting pressure on businesses and community costs.”
“Let’s not forget not too long ago our community suffered the loss of 160 jobs when Carter Holt Harvey was closed in Morwell on account of lack of timber supply – what additional costs will our community bear on account of inner-city-centred policy decisions?” said Mr Northe
“But most importantly, I am deeply concerned for the timber industry workers and their families and what this decision actually means for them”, Mr Northe continued.
“To simply say there will be some hurt, is manifestly inadequate”.
“People deserve to know what this decision means for their business or for their job, and at the very least the State Government must articulate what jobs will remain and what jobs will go”.
“That’s why I’ve used the first available opportunity to call upon the Government to acknowledge the negative impact this will have, particularly on regional communities such as ours”, Mr Northe concluded.