NSW Labor Deputy Leader Yasmin Catley and Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Paul Scully today declared Labor will fight to defend Forestry Corporation jobs in Bathurst.
Speaking outside the Bathurst Forestry office, Ms Catley and Mr Scully said 57 local jobs were at risk with revelations in Parliament last month that a sell-off was possible.
Ms Catley said that before the March election, Gladys Berejiklian said “no more privatisations were on the cards.”
“But in Parliament in August, when asked to rule out selling off the Forestry Corporation, the Liberals and Nationals back-flipped on that promise,” she said.
Liberal Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet said in Parliament: ‘Progress was never made by taking anything off the table’. Deputy Premier and National Party Leader, John Barilaro added: ‘We as a government, we consider all options…. It does not have to be in government hands’.
Mr Scully said the Forestry Corporation should not be for sale and the local MP Paul Toole should be defending local jobs.
“While the Liberals and Nationals will flog it off, Labor will fight to keep these jobs secure in the local community,” he said. “We’ve seen what happens when privatisation of public assets occurs. Workers get the sack, services suffer and prices rise.
“Forestry Corporation dividends flow into the state budget and help pay for schools, hospitals and local services. Paul Toole can’t ignore the concerns of forestry workers and the local community. He should be upfront with local workers about what he’s going to do to protect their jobs.”
The Forestry Corporation is a major employer in Bathurst and employs 516 people across the State. It produces around 25 per cent of the timber used in housing construction each year and manages two million hectares of the State’s forest estate. Since April 2011, the Liberals and Nationals have sold more than $70 billion in public assets.
According to the 2016 Census, Bathurst has the highest number of people employed in the forestry, logging (169 persons) and wood product manufacturing industry (479 persons) in New South Wales.