The Victorian native forestry industry has strongly welcomed the announcement of a proposed Legislative Council inquiry into the Andrews Government decision to shut down the native forestry industry by 2030.

This announcement was made at a rally by native forestry workers and supporters where Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien reaffirmed that if elected at the next state election he will reverse the closure decision.

CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Ross Hampton welcomed the Opposition announcements, saying, “The decision by the Andrews government to shut down native forestry is bad for the environment, bad for climate change action, bad for regional Victorian jobs and bad for the prosperity of regional and outer metropolitan Victorian communities where the timber is processed into much sought after floors, furniture and other products.

“Native forestry is completely sustainable and could have gone on providing the timbers for Melbourne’s homes and offices indefinitely. Instead Victorians will have to add to the already ridiculously large import figures which sees Australia import timber products worth more than $250million each month. The decision is not supported by the best global science or practice.”

The rally, held on the steps of Victorian Parliament House, was attended by approximately 300 industry workers and supporters.

CEO of the Victorian Association of Forest Industries Tim Johnston told the rally, “This decision to close a whole industry without justification should be reversed. Victoria’s native hardwood industry uses four trees out of every ten thousand, and every tree used is regenerated and regrown. It is the ultimate renewable.”

General Manager of the Australian Forest Contractors Association Stacey Gardiner said “the native forest industry contractors and their employees were pleased to hear the promise from the Opposition.  This decision must be reversed and will remain a key issue up until the next state election.”

“Victoria has a sustainable and well-managed native forest industry and we want it to continue well into the future.  Not only does it provide thousands of jobs but is also the backbone for so many regional and rural communities,” Ms Gardiner said.