Thursday 1 June 2017
The Andrews Labor Government could save thousands of forestry jobs in Victoria by reducing the size of “˜highly precautionary’ timber harvest exclusion zones.
At a parliamentary inquiry into VicForests VicForests Acting CEO Nathan Trushell confirmed the Leadbeater’s Possum was being detected at a rate “much higher than ever anticipated“.
Mr Trushell also described the current 200m buffer zones as “highly precautionary and having a significant impact on industry“.
At May 18 this year 617 Leadbeater’s Possum colonies had been recorded and an estimated 1851 individual possums found.
Mr Trushell also confirmed the amount of timber available to industry had dropped by nearly 60 000m3 because of possum sightings and projected sightings in the future.
The Andrews Labor Government is months overdue with a required review of the exclusion zones.
At a Parliamentary Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing today Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford showed an embarrassing lack of understanding of her portfolio and had to refer to Department staff when questioned if she had seen the exclusion zone review.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
Daniel Andrews has created this crisis in our forestry industry and is trying to force a fire sale of Heyfield’s mill instead of saving jobs and reducing the size of the exclusion zones.
Demand has never been higher for Victoria’s high-quality timber products but Daniel Andrews has put the industry in peril.
The 200m buffer zones were put in place at a time when Leadbeater’s possum numbers were unknown and they were supposed to be reviewed once 200 colonies were found but Daniel Andrews looks hell bent on creating the Great Forest National Park by stealth instead.
Daniel Andrews is sacrificing timber workers and their livelihoods because he is desperate to cling to power and needs city greens preferences next election.