Published: 10 Feb 2018
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has welcomed a decision by the Australian Senate to block an attempt by the Turnbull Government to seriously weaken Australia’s illegal logging import ban.
Over the course of several months, the CFMEU has briefed and lobbied Senators about the Government’s changes, warning that if they were not stopped it would increase the danger of illegally logged timber imports entering the country, putting tens of thousands of local jobs at risk.
Labor, the Greens and Senator Derryn Hinch, who moved the disallowance motion, were yesterday joined by SA Best Federal and One Nation to defeat the job-destroying elements of the Government’s changes.
“This decision by the Senate is a great result for our members and workers in our industry,” CFMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor said.
“Illegal logging not only causes terrible social, economic and environmental damage overseas, it also undercuts Australia’s forestry and forest products industries.
“This should be a wake-up call for the Turnbull Government to get serious about protecting Australian jobs from unfair and illegal trade.”
CFMEU members strongly backed the illegal logging import ban when it was introduced in 2012.
Despite the hostility of the Abbott and then Turnbull Governments, the union has led the way in defence of the illegal logging import prohibition and in support of its proper enforcement, while some other organisations — including environment groups and forestry employer associations — have gone missing in recent times.
“It’s lucky for the local industry and broader community that the CFMEU saw the Government’s changes for what they were and opposed them vigorously,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Stringent enforcement of laws to defend Australian jobs against unfair imports — including timber, paper and wood products made from illegally logged forests, dumped and unfairly subsidised manufactured products, and deadly, substandard building products — will remain a core part of the CFMEU’s business going forward.
“CFMEU members and our communities will continue to campaign for a level playing field for our industries in defence of local union jobs.”