Trail threat on timber industry

Trail threat on timber industry

Labor’s latest attempt to drive East Gippsland’s timber industry to extinction has been questioned in State Parliament by Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.

Mr Bull condemned Labor’s secret $1.5 million election commitment to fund planning for a Sea to Summit walking trail in East Gippsland which was buried in an announcement that was made on the other side of the state in Anglesea, without consultation with local people and without any effort to advise local media.

“Local timber representatives have told me they weren’t consulted at all and only found out about this via an article in Melbourne media a week ago,” Mr Bull said.

“Given these concerns, last week I formally asked the Agriculture Minister to outline what consultation actually occurred with the timber industry prior to this announcement being made.

“I’m seeking information on where, when and with whom it occurred, particularly in light of recent commentary that stated that even VicForests, the Government’s own agency, was not consulted on the proposal.”

Mr Bull also asked the Minister if the proposed trail would impact on currently allocated harvesting areas and, should it be established, to provide a guarantee there will be no overall loss of resource to the timber industry.

“My office had discussions with supporters of this project pre-election and while not unsupportive of walking trails and tourist attractions, there are valid questions that remain unanswered with respect to impact on existing timber harvest areas and plans to allocate other suitable areas to industry, to ensure there is no net loss of timber harvesting resource,” he said.

Mr Bull said it was alarming the plan was not communicated locally and questioned why Labor candidates, Mark Reeves and Jane Garrett and Upper House Member, Harriet Shing, were silent on this pre-election.

“The answer, I believe, is they knew it would be popular with inner-city lefties and unpopular with people and communities in East Gippsland who rely on the timber industry for jobs and to support our local economy.”


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