Victoria’s forestry industry and hundreds of its workers are facing an uncertain 2017, with reports that 230 employees and 30 contractors at Heyfield Mill today learned they will be without a job come September, Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party Member of Parliament Daniel Young said.
Heyfield Mill operators Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) flagged yesterday they were being forced to close the mill, citing an unwillingness by the Andrews Government and its Forestry Industry Taskforce to establish a sustainable framework for the industry.
“News of Heyfield’s announcement to employees does not come as a surprise, as we have been hearing a number of concerns from forest industry leaders who cite inaction by the Forestry Industry Taskforce and, therefore, a reluctance by VicForest to provide long-term supply agreements,” Mr Young said.
“Four years ago, the former Coalition Government and ASH invested more than $2.5 million into Heyfield Mill, providing its workers and local community with a sense of security. Then the Andrews Labor Government came into office and established the Forestry Industry Taskforce with a promise to work through sustainability challenges and provide ‘job protection’.
“Yet, halfway into the Andrews Government term and its taskforce has done little to address the challenges; and the future of the forestry industry, the workers and the affected communities are looking bleak.”