Labor must immediately review exclusion zones

Monday 20 March 2017

 

The Andrews Labor Government must immediately review the 200 metre exclusion zones which are impacting available timber for harvest in Victoria’s working forests.

These zones were adopted on recommendation from the Leadbeater’s Possum Advisory Group, with the intention to review once 200 colonies were identified.

To date, 569 colonies have been found. The target was met in June last year but the Andrews Labor Government still hasn’t completed the review.

Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh

It is astounding that we have a situation in Victoria where last Friday a sawmill announced it would close and 260 jobs would be lost to a small regional community, yet the Andrews Labor Government continues to stall on the critical review of these exclusion zones which are hampering the industry’s supply of timber.

The data available on possum colony numbers now far exceeds what was known about in 2012. On this evidence alone, the exclusion zone review must be expedited.

There is a tiny window of opportunity for Daniel Andrews to save 260 jobs at Heyfield’s sawmill but he must act immediately, before it is too late for Heyfield and before it is too late for other Gippsland sawmills.

The timber is there, what the industry lacks at the moment is political will and leadership from the Premier.

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