The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Public Land Use Melina Bath has blasted the Andrews Government to task over its decision to axe Victoria’s native timber industry in state parliament today.
During question time Ms Bath accused the Andrews Government of playing judge, jury, and executioner of Victoria’s native timber industry – labelling it a cruel decision that’s left thousands of hardworking Victorians out of work.
Ms Bath said it is clear the Andrews Government has no will to support the native timber industry, workers and their families.
“The Andrews Government has point blank refused to close the legal loopholes in the timber Code of Practice that has allowed green lawfare to hamstring the industry.
“Labor has refused to meet or forewarn sawmill owners, harvest and haulage contractors or their workers.”
“It smacks of hypocrisy when Andrews Government Ministers stand up in parliament and say they are ‘creating certainty for timber workers’ when regional families are hurting, and they deserve much more than this.
“Labor’s retraining vouchers are viewed by industry as an insult.”
“Labor Ministers stood up today in parliament and asserted workers are not alone – but the reality is workers have been abandoned by the Andrews Government.
“Talking to government agencies is not worker consultation – it’s not the same as listening to impacted individuals, their families, and regional communities who stand to lose their livelihoods”.
Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said to announce a full closure in mere months (December 31) with a paltry $200m compensation package will inflict enormous pain for workers and local communities.
“Labor’s transition package is appalling – it won’t go anywhere near meeting the needs of impacted individuals, let alone the regional communities that are destroyed. They need to reverse this terrible decision.
“The Andrews Government’s decision is wrong on so many levels, but most galling is its attempt to spin this as looking after timber workers and their families.”
Ms Bath said the Andrews Government had every opportunity to close the loopholes in the Timber Code of Practice, support the industry and deliver workers certainty, but it’s chosen not to.
“The Nationals have been fiercely advocating for the native timber industry for many years, calling on the Andrews Government, who operates on ideology not science.”
“The Andrews Government is complicit in its failure to support Victoria’s sustainable native timber industry and workers.”