Daniel Andrews and his Labor MPs shamefully refused to walk out to the front steps of State Parliament to meet Victorian timber workers today, says Deputy Leader of the Opposition Peter Walsh.

Timber workers were in Melbourne to rally against the Andrews Government's senseless native timber ban and send a clear message: "Dan, don't destroy timber jobs".

The Liberal Nationals have pledged to reverse the ban if elected to government in 2022.

We also confirmed today we will refer the ban to a Parliamentary Upper House Committee.

This will ensure we get the facts about the sustainability of the timber harvest, how many jobs will be lost as a result of Labor’s ban and what it will mean when Victoria is forced to import inferior timber to meet demand.

Meanwhile, Daniel Andrews couldn’t say how the Government will replace the firefighting capacity that will be lost due to Labor’s ban.

Workers and contractors are vital to firefighting efforts, voluntarily stopping work and taking heavy machinery to fire zones to establish fire breaks and clear access for firetrucks in steep and difficult terrain.

Victoria has 7.8 million hectares of forests, and more than 94 per cent of that is either unsuitable or unavailable for timber harvest because it’s already in national parks or other reserves.

Annually, Victoria’s timber industry has access to just 0.04 per cent of the forest estate, with trees replanted and regenerated once harvest is complete.

Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh

If Daniel Andrews was serious about his plan to ‘transition’ the industry, he wouldn’t have hidden from the workers whose lives he is about to destroy.

Timber workers made it clear today they won’t back down, despite the disgraceful Labor no-show on the front steps.

The Liberal Nationals were proud to stand with workers today, because we know and appreciate the value of the industry to our regional communities.

The Andrews Government is sacrificing country jobs in a desperate bid to secure inner-city greens votes.

Not only did he refuse to meet workers today, but Daniel Andrews can’t say how many jobs and businesses will be lost.

The Premier also won’t say what impact his timber ban will have on firefighting resources, or how much timber Victoria will be importing from countries that don’t have Victoria’s world-class environmental regulation.

 

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