Premier Dan Andrews has been caught out misleading Victorians about ending the harvesting of old growth forest as one of his excuses to shut down Victoria’s native forestry industry and put thousands of regional Victorians out of work.

The state-government owned VicForests announced months ago that it had ceased all old growth forest harvesting from 1 September 2019.[1]

Despite this, in his media statement from 7 November 2019, Premier Andrews stated:

…logging in remaining old growth forests will cease immediately, protecting around 90,000 hectares, with all logging in native forests across the state to stop by 2030.

CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association Ross Hampton said the Premier was either unaware of his government’s previous decision to stop old growth harvesting or sadly misleading the public with his claim in his media release.

“The decision to shut down Victoria’s native forestry industry will have devastating effects on thousands of workers and hundreds of communities across the state,” Mr Hampton said.

“Now it has been exposed that the Premier is claiming to have banned non-existent old growth timber harvesting.

“Victoria’s forest industry uses regrowth hardwood timber which provides the beautiful timbers which Melbournians use for appearance grade floors, windows, staircases, desks etc.

“Victorian Mountain Ash was even chosen to completely line the inside of the new Parliament of Victoria, Members Annexe Building. And for good reason. Timber from Victoria’s hardwood forests is a 100% renewable resource certified to world best standards. And it can’t be replaced by hardwood plantation timber which grows fast and makes paper and cardboard products.

“The native forestry industry has asked the Premier to please reconsider this decision. We will go on asking for this all the way until the next election if need be.”

 

[1] VicForests Manager of Biodiversity, Conservation and Research, Tim McBride (Webinar, 12 September 2019) – Ultimately our implementation for all harvesting going forward began on the 1st of July this year, and we made a commitment starting the 1st of September that we would not be harvesting old growth going forward. http://www.vicforests.com.au/what-is-certification/fsc-standard/fsc-2020-vicforests-controlled-wood-roadmap