Employers, industry groups and the CFMEU have co-funded a TV advertisement to thank workers in the timber industry who performed and are performing vital work to protect homes and lives during the recent and current bushfires.

The commercial features stunning footage taken by a forestry worker as he and his workmates cleared a containment line in regional Victoria. It will air for two weeks across all major networks and be supported by an expansive social media campaign.

AFPA Chief Executive Ross Hampton said the video shows forestry industry workers and contractors are an integral part of local firefighting efforts that help protect communities under threat of bushfires.

“We think it’s important to thank them for the role they play,” he said.

“These are our Hi Viz heroes who’ve done heroic work alongside volunteer and professional fire fighters all summer. Without their help to remove all the ‘killer’ trees along thousands of
kilometres of roads which would otherwise potentially fall on travellers, those roads would still be closed”
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In a powerful show of unity following the bushfire crisis, the Victorian Association of Forest Industries, the Australian Forest Products Association, the Australian Forest Contractors Association and the CFMEU have come together for the campaign.

With years of experience working in the bush across regional Australia, timber workers, their equipment, skills and expertise play a vital role prior, during and in the aftermath of bushfires. As well as working to build containment lines, the skills, expertise and equipment of timber workers is relied on to remove dangerous trees and clear roads following these disasters.

The campaign comes as questions continue to be asked about the viability of Victoria’s timber industry, and thus the maintenance of this vital bushfire mitigation and suppression capacity, following a Victorian Government decision to close down large sections of the timber industry.

The General Manager of the Australian Forest Contractors Association Stacey Gardner said the most important thing about this footage is that, while it’s rare to get it on camera, Forestry
Contractors are out during just about every bushfire in Australia without question.

“hey are the first to put their hands up to risk their lives to assist with cleaning up safely. We greatly appreciate their skills and use of equipment and it is vital that we realise the huge contribution that they make.”

The national secretary of the CFMEU Michael O’Connor said the footage doesn’t just show the skills, but also the courage of workers in the timber
industry.

“We’re proud to have so many timber workers as members, and we’re thankful to the entire industry for their work during the bushfire crisis,” he said.

The Chief Executive of the Chief Executive of the Victorian Association of Forest Industries Tim Johnston said the efforts of forest workers highlighted in the video won’t surprise those who live and work in timber communities.

“The tens of thousands of people who rely on Victoria’s timber industry will already know how incredible these workers are,” he said.

We’re proud to be part of this campaign to make sure the rest of Victoria knows it as well.”