Tuesday 21 March 2017
Heyfield mill workers contractors and the community sent a clear message to the Premier today: don’t drop the axe on our jobs and our community.
Hundreds of timber workers and community members rallied at State Parliament on the same day Daniel Andrews and Ministers Jaala Pulford and Gavin Jennings again failed to commit the timber necessary to secure 260 jobs at the Heyfield mill.
The Premier refused to front up to the rally even though he was just metres away inside his Parliament House office.
The Agriculture Minister also washed her hands of the issue deflecting questions about whether she failed to get her Cabinet colleagues to support a larger quantity of timber supply for the Heyfield mill.
Minister Pulford did acknowledge the impact 200-metre Leadbeater’s Possum exclusion zones were having on timber allocation but was silent on the progress of a review of these exclusions zones which was supposed to start in June 2016 when 200 possum colonies were identified.
More than 550 colonies have been found but the Andrews Government still hasn’t completed the review.
Comments from Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
The timber supply is there what’s missing is the Andrews Labor Government’s will to provide it and save 260 jobs.
Heyfield people sent a clear message today they won’t stand for the Premier’s hypocrisy desperately clinging to his own job while dropping the axe on 260 mill workers.
The Andrews Government must immediately expedite the exclusion zone review before it is too late for the Heyfield workers their families and thousands more jobs down the line.
Comments from Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull
I was so proud to join the people and the trucks of Heyfield filling the streets around Parliament today but I wish they didn’t have to travel all that way to beg Daniel Andrews to save their jobs and their mill.
Daniel Andrews needs to sit up and take notice: our community and this industry will not go quietly while he puts city preference deals ahead of jobs.
It is disgraceful that the Premier refused to come out to the rally today but this is the same guy who came to the Latrobe Valley twice in the past two months and couldn’t make the 25 minute journey on to Heyfield so we shouldn’t be surprised at his cowardice.