Victorian communities and families will be reeling today from the devastating news that the Andrews Government will today announce it will close down that state’s native forestry industries by 2030.

The move, as reported in newspapers today, will see the loss of thousands of jobs and the withdrawal of key investment in many regional and rural centres across the state.

Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Ross Hampton said that not only does this decision fly in the face of global science, which says sustainable forest management such as that practised in Victoria is one of the best things the world can do to limit dangerous climate change, but it is also completely at odds with the federal Labor policy – taken to the May election – of ‘no more lock ups’.

“The Andrews Government has also seriously underestimated the pride most Australians, including those in our cities, have in our primary industry sector,” Mr Hampton said.

“Australians want to see it prosper. They believe we can look after the environment and look after regional communities as well as produce the things we need, such as timber, rather than importing from places which do not always manage their forests sustainably. The last federal election result gave ample evidence of this. Premier Andrews should reverse this decision.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which advises the UNFCCC on climate matters has stated unequivocally:

“A sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.” IPCC 4th Assessment

“Regional and rural communities underpinned by forest industries will be feeling betrayed and angry today. But so too will the many thousands of other Victorians working in any area which the Andrews Government may decide is expendable because of a minority of activist voices which are raised against it,” Mr Hampton said.

“Today’s announcement must answer key questions such as how will this massive new national park covering vast areas of the state be maintained and defended from pests and bushfires without the forestry workforce, and how the hundreds of millions of dollars in annual economic activity and thousands of jobs forest industries generate in regional Victoria will be replaced,” Mr Hampton concluded.