The Australian Forest Products Association has cautiously welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement of a review of the Code of Practice for Timber Production to address the relentless tide of vexatious litigation waged by anti-forestry groups.
In making the announcement, Victorian Minister for the environment Lily D’Ambrosio recognised the need to “minimise the risk to short-term supply obligations arising from third-party litigation”.
AFPA CEO Mr Ross Hampton said the Victorian Government must act urgently to address the uncertainty created by last month’s Federal Court decision against VicForests.
“While VicForests has confirmed it will appeal the judgment, the court case has highlighted the need to reaffirm the intent of the regulatory framework and to avoid the endless lawfare that anti-forestry activist groups have waged in recent years to disrupt lawful timber harvesting operations,” Mr Hampton said.
“We urge the Victorian Government to progress the necessary changes to the Code and to work with the Federal Government on providing certainty to the RFA framework and for Victorian timber industry workers.”
However, Mr Hampton condemned Premier Daniel Andrews for persisting with his flawed plan to shut down the Victorian hardwood timber industry.
“If the Victorian Government is serious about protecting timber jobs in Victoria then it would abandon its disastrous plan to shut down the industry by 2030,” Mr Hampton said.
“Victoria’s hardwood timber industry is completely sustainable, and managed to the highest environmental standards, harvesting the equivalent of just 4 trees in every 10,000 and regenerating after harvest.”
“Now, more than ever, Australia needs to support local manufacturing jobs. Victoria’s native timber industry supports thousands of regional jobs and is the backbone of many regional communities. As Victoria faces years of record unemployment it beggars belief that Premier Daniel Andrews is willingly putting thousands of people out of work,“ Mr Hampton concluded.