The Heyfield rally held at State Parliament this week has shown that the Andrews Labor Government needs to listen to regional communities and support the industries they rely on, Member for Narracan, Gary Blackwood has said this week.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Blackwood said there was a clear message to the government from the rally, that the town of Heyfield and regional Victoria want their livelihoods protected and the current Melbourne-centric Labor Government to take interest in issues that are impacting regional jobs.
‘Earlier this week the Parliament was surrounded by log trucks supported by a large number of timber workers and their families from Gippsland,’ Mr Blackwood said.
‘The protest was very well organised, professional and respectful as it delivered a message of despair at the failure of the Andrews Government to secure supply for the Heyfield Mill.
Mr Blackwood said the respect shown by Heyfield Mill supporters on the steps of the Victorian Parliament was in direct contrast to the militant style action normally taken by environmental protestors who routinely chained themselves to equipment or climbed trees in coupes to disrupt legitimate lawful business by timber workers.
‘This protest was in stark contrast to the protest actions of militant green groups, who invade the workplace of legitimate forest workers, compromising their safety and undermining their income.
‘This type of action is supported by the gumnut fairies like the Members for Melbourne and Prahran, who continue to propagate lies about the timber industry.
‘It only has access to 6 per cent of the public native forest estate, and only 0.3 per cent per year is harvested on a minimum rotation of 80 years.
‘The Leadbeater’s possum is not critically endangered. Surveys have found some 560 colonies in recent times, which has taken 12.5 hectares per colony away from industry.
‘The Premier now needs to act and return this area back to production and give Australian Sustainable Hardwoods 135,000 cubic meters per year, making their business viable and the broader industry more sustainable,’ said Mr Blackwood.