MEDIA RELEASE Friday 09 October 2020
Today’s announcement for expressions of interest to establish a plantation estate in Eastern Victoria will provide no comfort to Victorian workers, families and communities which rely on the forestry industry according to the timber workers union, CFMEU Manufacturing.
The latest instalment of the Government’s shambolic Forestry Plan falls well short of providing any certainty for the thousands of timber and pulp and paper workers whose jobs are on the block due to the Government’s mismanagement.
The details of the process outlined today is an admission that the Government has no idea about how to sustainably restructure the industry.
“This is another half-baked re-announcement driven by an unviable “Trump like” plan which is really no more than a mishmash of incoherent talking points” said Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union National Secretary Michael O’Connor.
“We’ve been waiting three and a half years since funding for plantation establishment was announced in the 2017-18 Budget to see a program and we get this joke process instead”
“The reality is, we are no closer to adding to the plantation estate today than we were a year ago when this shambolic Forestry Plan was dumped on us”
Everybody with any idea knows that the deadline to transition out of native forests by 2030 is unachievable without leaving workers and communities on the scrap heap.
The Government’s plan provides no opportunity for the solid hardwood industry to transition and puts jobs at the largest private sector employer in Gippsland, Australian Paper at serious risk, a risk exacerbated by the 2019-20 summer bushfires.
Even if this process results in plantation trees swiftly being planted, there is no way that any of them will be ready for use by the industry in 2030 for pulping and certainly not for solid wood product manufacturing.
“Pretending this scheme will provide a future for workers and timber communities is nothing more than a cruel hoax”
“Rather than stubbornly ploughing ahead with a dud plan the Government needs to swallow it’s pride and work in partnership with workers and communities to address the uncertainty they have helped create and come up with a viable alternative plan” Concluded Mr O’Connor.
Media Contact: Travis Wacey 0427900556