Member for Morwell, Russell Northe has again questioned the Minister for Resources Tim Pallas on what his Government is doing to support the local quarry industry, which is at risk without Government intervention.
Last year Mr Northe requested that the Minister meet with local quarry owners and operators in the Latrobe Valley to hear first-hand the challenges they were facing in their endeavours to grow and expand their operations.
“Unfortunately the Minister refused my request which was of great disappointment given the essential need to retain and create jobs in the Latrobe Valley following massive job losses in the energy and timber industries” said Mr Northe
“The extraction material industry employs hundreds of people across Gippsland directly and indirectly, and the material they provide is critical to a number of industries including the building and construction sector,” Mr Northe said.
“Local quarries such as Maryvale Sands, Latrobe Valley Blue Metal, Matthews Quarries and Latrobe Valley Sands have plans to expand or open new sites yet they are being stifled at every turn by onerous regulations and the failure of the Governments own departments and agencies to meet their statutory time-frames ” said Mr Northe
On the one hand the Minister in his capacity as Treasurer has previously stated that Victoria is the place to do business if you’re in the resource sector, and he also stated that rising major project costs was one of the things that kept him awake at night.
Yet on the other hand and in his capacity as Minister for Resources he is stifling an industry and local businesses that without his support will see the resources sector fall over, and extraction materials prices increase dramatically.
One only has to look at the electricity industry to know what will happen, jobs will be lost, security of supply threatened and prices increasing dramatically.
The facts are that our local quarries have a limited life and without Government support and intervention they will ultimately close, which will not only see a loss of local jobs but Victoria will have to become an importer of extraction materials, which would be a disgraceful outcome.
Even the Construction Materials Processors Association (CMPA) warned the Government in 2017 that “there are insufficient new, or extended quarry reserves being made available for extraction and that disruption to the construction industry supply chain is inevitable, unless the issue is promptly addressed by government”.
Mr Northe called on the Minister to take the time to meet with Latrobe Valley based quarry owners and hear from them first-hand the challenges they are confronted with in dealing with onerous Government regulations that are prohibiting further growth and expansion in this important sector.
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