The Agriculture Minister’s recent hollow announcements around timber plantations does nothing for security of the local industry, says Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
“When you have the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining And Energy Union (CFMMEU), slamming a Labor policy, it’s a fair indication it is seriously flawed.
“The CFMMEU says the policy has ‘little substance and does nothing to provide certainty for the timber workers’, adding ‘it is no more than a mishmash of incoherent talking points’.
“The Union quite rightly says the plan to transition out of native forests will devastate workers and communities and that ‘pretending this plantation scheme will provide a future for workers and timber communities is a cruel hoax’.”
Mr Bull said that with plans to transition the native timber industry to plantation by 2030, he asked the Premier in Parliament for the locations of the hardwood timber plantations (that take at least 30 years to mature), as they should be 20 years old now if they are to be harvestable by 2030.
“While the question specifically related to replacement hardwood timber, the answer I got back related to softwood plantations, blue gum plantations and reference to future plantations.
“The Premier’s answer shows no understanding at all. Plantations of pine or blue gum do not replace mountain or alpine ash.
“He provided no information on the location of the plantations containing the species that will replace our native hardwood industry and there is good reason for this – they do not exist.
“The Government is talking about transition to plantation, but there is nothing to transition to when it comes to these hardwood species that our markets demand.
“It is time Mr Andrews came clean on whether he intends to import this replacement timber from jurisdictions with less oversight, or revisit this flawed 2030 deadline. Our timber families and communities deserve answers.”