Gippsland Nationals MP’s have expressed their solidarity with workers who will lose their jobs at Opals Maryvale Mill with the closure of white paper manufacturing.
The devastating news was confirmed last night after months of the Labor Governments failure to supply timber to the mill which is the direct result of Labor policy and inaction to close legal loopholes.
The Nationals Member for Morwell, Martin Cameron said he was devastated for the 200 workers and their families and the many people who will be effected by the flow on effects of this closure.
“The reason I ran for parliament was to support our workers and I am just so devastated that we have lost these jobs here in the Valley.
“While it’s disappointing that Opal Australian Paper has made this decision, it has clearly come about because of Labor’s policy failures on the forestry industry.
“I will continue to fight for these workers to ensure they receive the necessary support to re-train and find new jobs because the last thing we want is to lose these workers and their families from the Valley all together.”
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said the writing had been on the wall for some time and Labor had failed to act.
“We have warned Labor time and again that it needed to close legal loopholes that have allowed ongoing green law-fare against the timber industry and ultimately locked out timber workers from the forest.
“This has had a devastating effect on our local harvest and haulage sector as well as local timber mills and now the Latrobe Valley’s largest private employer.
“These job losses are directly at the hands of Daniel Andrews and his Ministers and they need to move heaven and earth to find alternative industries and employment for the Latrobe Valley.”
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said Labor’s forestry policy was a disaster that would only result in more job losses in Gippsland and worse global environmental outcomes as Australia turns to imports to fill the void.
“Remember in November 2019, Daniel Andrews guaranteed the jobs at the Maryvale Mill until at least 2050 and scoffed at suggestions that Labors policies would cost jobs.
“The proof is now in the pudding that the Premier had lied and unfortunately it’s Gippsland workers who bear the brunt.
“The most frustrating thing is that this didn’t need to happen.
“We have a world class sustainable timber industry that could persist for centuries into the future but for the desire to win green votes in the city.”
Mr O’Brien said Greens political party calls for the immediate cessation of native timber harvesting showed just how ill-informed and out of touch they are.
“Native forest harvesting sequesters carbon and uses a sustainable renewable resource – what could be better for the environment?”