LABOR SHADOW CABINET MEETING IN TUMUT CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE FORESTRY INDUSTRY ASSISTANCE

11 February 2020

Labor is calling on the Berejiklian Government to take immediate steps to support timber-dependent towns like Tumut, Tumbarumba and surrounding communities where the forestry industry has been devastated by the recent bush fires. 

Labor is calling on the Berejiklian Government to take immediate steps to support timber-dependent towns like Tumut, Tumbarumba and surrounding communities where the forestry industry has been devastated by the recent bush fires.
 
Labor’s call for industry support follows recent visits to Tumut, and consultation with the Snowy Valleys Council, the Softwood Working Group and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union
 
Speaking in Tumut, NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay said: “Bushfires have devastated our forestry industry, damaging around 50,000 hectares of plantation timber in the Snowy Valleys region alone.
 
“This is a real threat to workers, and the economy of regional communities that rely on the forestry industry.
 
“Gladys Berejiklian can’t sit around and wait for this problem to fix itself. These regional communities need government support.”
 
At a Shadow Cabinet meeting, hosted by the Snowy Valleys Council in Tumut today Labor considered what steps need to be taken to support fire-affected timber communities and the forestry industry. Shadow Cabinet meetings are where Labor’s priorities and policies are developed.
 
NSW Labor Leader, Jodi McKay and her Shadow Cabinet are calling for Gladys Berejiklian to:

  • APPOINT a Forestry Recovery Commissioner, along with a timber industry recovery advisory taskforce to guide the implementation of a recovery plan
  • ABANDON the sell-off of Forestry Corporation, now and for good
  • GUARANTEE the replanting and re-establishment of plantation areas
  • DELIVER financial support for mill operators to accommodate the additional capital expenditure needed and help to support cash flows during the years of recovery facing the industry
  • CONTRIBUTE to the cost of fencing repair for properties adjoining Forestry Corporation property
  • REPAIR damaged roads, fire trails, bridges, power and communications infrastructure in forestry estates
  • ERADICATE weeds and pests, especially blackberries which are a substantial contributor to high fuel loads
  • ESTABLISH a workforce plan for mill workers as the industry runs at lower capacity which is expected in the next two to three years

Labor Shadow Minister for Natural Resources, Paul Scully said: “The greatest uncertainty for the industry remains the Liberals and Nationals’ planned privatisation of Forestry Corporation, and the uncertainty over the replanting of the plantations.
 
“The timber industry workers and employers have been standing shoulder-to-shoulder with firefighters in the fight against the recent bushfires, helping to protect and save lives and property and the industry deserves some certainty about its future.
 
“Last week when I asked about the forestry industry in Question Time the Nationals Deputy Premier acknowledged that the timber industry was ‘on its knees’ but he refuses to take simple steps to reassure the industry.
 
“Why won’t he rule out the sell-off of the forests, commit to support the workforce and guaranteeing re-planting? These are the strong signals about the future that the industry is looking for from the Liberals and Nationals.”
 
Following today’s Shadow Cabinet meeting, Mr Scully will be travelling to fire-affected timber mills in the Snowy Valleys region.