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Dan Andrews to blame for APM Mill job losses from inability to facilitate effective transition to plantation timber

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says Premier Dan Andrews must accept 100% of the blame for up to 200 job losse.

By news@gippsland - 15th February 2023 - Back to News

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says Premier Dan Andrews must accept 100% of the blame for up to 200 job losses at Maryvale Mill, after Opal Australia decided to cease manufacturing white pulp and paper. Mr Chester has told Federal Parliament that State Labor's plan to abolish the native timber industry in Victoria was already impacting local jobs.

State Laborís plan to abolish the native timber industry in Victoria ceased on manufacturing white pulp and paper resulted to more than 200 job losses at Maryvale Mill, after Opal Australia

State Labor's plan to abolish the native timber industry in Victoria ceased on manufacturing white pulp and paper resulted to more than 200 job losses at Maryvale Mill, after Opal Australia

Combined impact

Mr Chester told Parliament, "People and wildlife die in poorly managed forests, and Victorian Premier Dan Andrews's plan to shut down the native timber industry is a plan to kill country towns, to kill wildlife and to kill Australian jobs."

"The combined impact of judicial activism, environmental protests, green lawfare and the abject failure of the Victorian Labor government to support our world-class and environmentally sustainable timber industry is devastating regional communities across Gippsland."

"Every worker who loses their job, every family facing financial stress - and the difficult decision to leave the community they love - has just one man to blame, and that man is Premier Dan Andrews and a Labor Party in Victoria that doesn't care about blue-collar workers anymore." Mr Chester said.

Seeking answers for workers

Mr Chester said he had raised concerns about fibre supply to the mill two years ago in a letter to senior management. "I raised my concerns then because I wanted to seek answers on behalf of hundreds of workers whose jobs are threatened by cuts to timber supply."

"I don't trust the Premier and I didn't believe state government assurances that jobs would be secure in the proposed transition to plantation timber. The state government's policy to abandon all harvesting of native timber is a direct threat to jobs at the paper mill along with all other timber industry jobs in our region.

"These latest job losses were completely avoidable if Melbourne Labor Ministers had taken action to protect the hardwood timber industry from activists and secure the fibre supply over the longer term." Mr Chester said.

Labor's apathy and hostility

Mr Chester said the decision to cease manufacturing white pulp and paper was devastating for workers at the mill and sub-contractors who provide transport and logistical support to the industry.

"The job losses don't end at the mill gate, there will be truck drivers and other subcontractors in our region who will lose incomes as a result of this decision. What is the Premier going to do for those family business owners? What is the Prime Minister going to do about Australia losing the capacity to manufacture white copy paper on our own shores?"

"Despite the apathy and hostility of the Labor Party to local timber workers, I remain committed to working with industry and community leaders to save jobs in this environmentally sustainable and economically critical Gippsland industry." Mr Chester said.

Exposed to fluctuations

Mr Chester added, "If the industry is shut down, we will see less practical management of the fire risk in the bush with lives and livelihoods put at risk, all for the sake of Premier Dan Andrews chasing Greens votes in the city."

"We need to produce more of our own critical supplies as a nation and shutting down the native hardwood timber industry in Victoria is already leaving us exposed to fluctuations in foreign markets, and timber harvested from less environmentally sustainable sources."

"Victoria is home to a world-class, environmentally-sustainable, and highly regulated native hardwood timber industry which is innovative, and has invested in technology to maximise yield and reduce environmental impacts." Mr Chester said.

Pictures from Australian Forests & Timber News Facebook page.


Source: http://gippsland.com/

Published by: news@gippsland.com



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