Member for Morwell Russell Northe is calling on the State Government to provide support to Australian Paper and timber related businesses in Gippsland.
Mr Northe said the State Government had failed to provide any certainty in the timber industry with jobs at Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) in Heyfield currently under threat, and plantation leases with Hancock Victoria Plantations (HVP) still unresolved.
“With the closure of Hazelwood Power Station less than three weeks away, the State Government should be at the very least supporting this critical industry in the Latrobe Valley and wider Gippsland region,” Mr Northe said.
“Daniel Andrews said he would fight for every Victorian job; however we know he has failed that statement for Hazelwood workers and contractors.
“But he now needs to stand by his own words and support timber jobs in Gippsland.”
Mr Northe said given the State Government is not going to intervene to save Hazelwood at the very least they need to intervene to save the timber industry and timber related jobs.
“Business such as Australian Paper, Carter Holt Harvey, HVP, Fishers Timber and a range of other timber related businesses are critical to the region and Daniel Andrews must finally show his support,” Mr Northe said.
“Australian Paper has had some enormous challenges and the Andrews Government needs to not only retain existing jobs but also create new jobs in the industry.”
Mr Northe said the support of Australian Paper is critically important to the retention of existing jobs and the prospect of new jobs in the Latrobe Valley.
“Forestry and forest products make a significant contribution to the economy and our local community,” Mr Northe said.
“The Victorian Government should stop sitting on the fence and finally make decisions that guarantee the future of the timber industry in Gippsland.”
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