Federal Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud has today given strong support for the Victorian native forestry industry in Question Time, highlighting the benefits of a sustainable industry that employs thousands of Victorians.

“This is one of the most sustainably managed resources in the country. And, in fact, only four in every 10,000 trees in native forests in Victoria are harvested. And every one of those are replaced. They are replaced. It is also – also an important aspect to our fire mitigation work in Victoria, in keeping Victorians safe. Making sure they are protected during the fire season,” Mr Littleproud said in response to a question from Member for Nicholls Damian Drum MP.

The support for the industry is in stark contrast with the decision by the Andrews Labor Government to shut down the sector by 2030, threatening thousands of jobs in many regional and rural communities.

Minister Littleproud also praised Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Resources Joel Fitzgibbon for backing Victoria’s native forestry industry at an AFPA dinner in Canberra last Thursday, in a veiled swipe at the Victorian Labor Government’s announcement.

“I don’t always agree with the member for Hunter. He has, in all honesty, shown the courage, the courage and conviction you would expect on this, and recently at the Australian forest products association dinner, he was called out the fallacy of the claim that the hardwood industry can transition by 2030.

“Australia cannot sustain a forest and forest products industry and/or the jobs and wealth it creates without a native forest industry. That is the truth. That is… what you would expect from someone that’s meant to stand up for blue collar workers, with the Coalition members here that are going to stand shoulder to shoulder  with those men and women, those communities that will be destroyed,” Minister Littleproud said.

CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association Ross Hampton welcomed Minister Littleproud’s supportive comments today, and the bipartisan support in Federal Parliament for Victoria’s sustainable native forest industries.

“The Victorian native forestry now knows that the Coalition is backing the industry, we know that Federal Labor are backing the industry so the only party who doesn’t understand the importance of the sector is Victorian Labor and Premier Daniel Andrews,” Mr Hampton said.

“The decision by the Victorian Government to shut down the native timber industry flies in the face of science and good policy and the attempt by Premier Andrews to say it’s a ‘transition’ is nothing more than a cruel hoax, as Minister Littleproud said today,” Mr Hampton concluded.