Timber burned in the catastrophic January bushfires in north-east Victoria and Gippsland will finally be released after the Andrews Labor Government deliberately delayed the assessment of coupes.
Despite calls from industry to release coupes as assessments were finalised through the year, Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes has withheld the release of harvestable timber.
In announcing timber storage grants today, the Andrews Labor Government failed to commit to fast-tracking assessment and approval of the grants, raising questions on whether it will just be another tactic to destroy the industry by stealth.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture and for Bushfire Recovery Peter Walsh said the Andrews Labor Government must immediately release coupes that were deemed viable.
“The Andrews Labor Government’s policies have savaged Victoria’s timber industry, but today Daniel Andrews and Jaclyn Symes are saying they should be thankful,” Mr Walsh said.
“It’s a cruel slap in the face to every hard-working Victorian family whose livelihood will be destroyed by Labor’s policy to ban the native timber industry by 2030.
“Families and small communities in Gippsland and north-east Victoria that rely on the timber industry to survive will never forgive Daniel Andrews and Jaclyn Symes for the carnage Labor’s policies have inflicted.
“These families have worked in the industry for generations. It’s more than a job – it’s a family legacy.
“Victoria’s sustainable, world-class timber industry deserves our support and the Liberal Nationals will keep standing up and fighting for you.”