The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has paid tribute to the thousands of forestry industry workers and contractors who have been working tirelessly for months fighting fires.
Chief Executive Officer of AFPA Ross Hampton said, “While we are all rightly applauding the volunteer fire fighters in the various states who are battling the flames, we must equally acknowledge that there are a large number of Australians wearing Hi Viz rather than orange fire fighter clothing who have also given up their Christmas holidays to assist their fellow Australians at this devastating time.”
“All around the fire areas, forest industry workers are using their expertise and machinery to put out flames and push through vital fire breaks to allow fire-fighters to back burn. They have also been clearing roads of fallen trees to make it safe for holidaymakers to evacuate and possible for volunteer fire-fighters to access flanks of fires.
“This has already been a tragic fire season and the loss of life and livelihoods is heart-breaking.
“It would have been much worse however if we did not have a large number of highly trained forestry fire fighters and contractors with decades of deep understanding of how to manage the bush, in place to assist the volunteer fire fighters.
“These forest industry “Hi Viz heroes” will not be present in Victoria in the future should the Andrews Government continue in its ill-considered plan to close down the native forest industry.
“This devastating fire season demands a rethink of that plan. AFPA looks forward to participating if the Government agrees to reconsider and choose a new path which will secure environmental, social and economic values and keep regional Victoria safer.”
Attached/below are several social media posts highlighting the critical role that forest workers and contractors are playing in their communities.