Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff has criticised Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, describing the move to close the Victorian native logging industry earlier than expected as ‘ill-conceived’.
Wood Central understands it is the first time a Head of Government has publicly criticised the decision.
It follows Tasmanian Resources Minister Felix Ellis, who was critical of the Victorian decision in May.
“Our forestry sector wasn’t set up for different states to make such terrible decisions as this.”
“And we’ll need to work to ensure that we maximise local processing, local capability, and local jobs.”Tasmanian Resources Minister, Felix Ellis
The decision to accelerate the closure has divided the Australian Labor Party, with the Age reporting that not all Labor MPs agreed with the decision, especially those in Canberra.
Three federal MPs told the Age, off the record, that they disagreed with the decision to bring forward the ban and were furious with how news was delivered.
“This is not how you do things,” one federal Labor MP said.
The ALP-aligned union representing timber workers accused the Andrews government of failing to consult the industry.
It said the “gut-wrenching” decision would result in up to 1000 more short-term job losses than anticipated.
It’s a shame that [Andrews] only governs for Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo,” the CFMEU’s Manufacturing Division National Secretary, Michael O’Connor, said.
“If you’re in any other part of the state, you don’t get a look in.”
Michael O’Connor is a director of Responsible Wood (which manages the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management) and co-chair of the newly appointed Strategic Forests and Renewable Materials Partnership.
The new body will act as a National Advisory Group for the Federal Government.
O’Connor resigned from the Victorian Forest Advisory Committee over a ‘lack of consultation with the committee.’
In an interview with AAP, O’Connor called into question the committee’s credibility – with the decision to end native harvesting without prior consultation with the committee.
“The advisory committee was, quite frankly, a sham,” he said.
“The union is not interested in being a prop for the state’s media unit.”
Traditional Owners have also been critical of the decision, with Wood Central revealing that the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations were not consulted before the decision.
On May 23rd, 2023, the FVTOC released a media statement responding to the decision by the Victorian Government to accelerate the transition from native forest harvesting.
Wood Central understands that the TUP refers to the DJARRA Traditional Owner Corporation, which has an approved Timber Utilisation Plan in the Wombat State Forest.
According to Premier Rockliff, the announcement has already impacted the Tasmanian industry, with logs from Tasmania being imported to be processed on the mainland.
There are already calls for the Tasmanian Government to cap the amount of timber sent across the Bass Strait.
On Sunday, Premier Rockliff said the state government would support Tasmania’s forestry sector workers.
“We will not let Dan Andrews’ ill-conceived decision affect Tasmanian timber workers and sawmillers.”