No plan for the workers: Labor’s reckless timber approach will hurt local families

Media release
12 September 2023

Today’s announcement by the NSW Government that it will ban harvesting in parts of Northern NSW previously allocated for timber production has sent a chill down the spine of every timber worker in the state.

The decision will impact the jobs and livelihoods of hundreds of local families and hurt communities from Coffs Harbour to Grafton.

Alison Rudman, NSW Secretary of the timber workers’ union, said:
“There is no plan in today’s announcement for the workers who harvest, transport, mill and make
household furniture from timber in Northern NSW.

“At a time when families are already under pressure, putting people’s jobs and pay at risk by taking bits of timber offline ahead of evaluating the impact is a bad choice and will cost local families immensely.
“We need a proper plan for these workers and communities, not policy by media release.
“The workers impacted by this rash decision must have a voice in the process.

“We are asking the NSW Government to urgently sit down with the union to identify impacted workers and discuss a support plan for anyone who will lose their job or working hours, and a renewed commitment to do things differently in the future.”

Ms Rudman said the proposal was inconsistent with the ALP’s own policy platform which promised a much more sober approach than today’s knee jerk reaction of locking up forests without consideration of consequences to workers and communities or even the environment.
“All this will do is inflate prices of timber in NSW, push manufacturing of hardwood timber products offshore to countries that operate without NSW’s environmental and safety protections, while putting locals out of work.”