Representatives from the total supply chain of timber and forest-based products have written to the Victorian Premier “voicing concerns about the decision to bring forward the closure of Victoria’s native forests.”
The group acts on behalf of a 40,000-voting-member block that wants to meet with Premier Allan “to explore better options moving forward.”
“As a collective supply chain, we are offering our expertise to work with your government to find agreed solutions,” the letter states, with the industry wanting to deliver benefits for the wider community.
According to the group, this includes forest health and resilience, reduced wildfire risk, greater biodiversity and wildlife protection outcomes, “and sustainable, renewable, local and independently certified Victorian hardwood products.”
“These values are not mutually exclusive; they are, in fact, the cornerstone of scientifically robust active forest management. Victorians can have their forests and biodiversity and a productive timber industry too,” the letter states.
Wood Central can reveal that the letter has been counter-signed by many of Australia’s largest hardwood processors, the peak bodies for Australian Furniture, Timber Flooring, Forest Contractors, Timber Communities, and the 11 regional communities connected to the native hardwood supply chains.
The unprecedented level of support, a first for the supply chain, is essential because “the timber industry supplies products which Victorians want and need,” the letter states, “including furniture, flooring, decking, cladding, staircases, architectural joinery, mouldings, and high-strength structural beams.”
“It is the economic, environmental, and societal foundation of countless Victorian families, communities and businesses based regionally, and with an extended supply chain that spans Victoria’s regional towns, cities, and the commercial and industrial areas of Greater Melbourne.”
The group believes Premier Allan (who replaced former Premier Andrews in late September) “understands the importance and value of the Victorian native forest industry due to your strong regional representation and personal connections.”
“However, your Government must be better informed about the unintended consequences of this decision, and we request this urgent meeting to discuss the options,” the letter states.
It states that the unintended consequences of the closure, which include the creation of 11 “welfare towns,” the “loss of skilled firefighters and firefighting plant,” and “critical seed collection”, could have now be prevented with a policy change by the Victorian Government.
The group now wants a meeting date with the Premier before November 30, “with a small delegation of the collective supply chain partners” agreeing to meet with the Premier “to discuss this important matter further and find an inclusive solution for the Victorian community. “