On behalf of its membership and the broader community, the Committee for Gippsland (C4G) seeks to further understand the true impact of the State Government’s announcement to phase-out of all logging in native forests by 2030.
Jane Oakley C4G Chief Executive Officer said, “Many in Gippsland have been surprised and concerned by this announcement and C4G is advocating to government for open and transparent dialogue with key industry and community representatives to ensure clarity and collaboration for the future of the sector and the region.”
A number of Gippsland’s key industries, many with a long and strong history of supporting jobs, families, communities and the state’s economy, are facing significant change; notably the power sector, commercial fishing and, now, the timber industry.
“Along with many in our region, we have concern for the social and economic impact this phasing-out will have, particularly the risk to 21,000 direct and downstream Victorian jobs associated with the timber and forestry sector,” explained Ms Oakley.
“We understand government is putting measures in place to assist in leading the transition on behalf of the Minister,” Ms Oakley acknowledged. “But C4G believes that the best way to enable sectors, business and workers to effectively adapt to large-scale change is through honest and transparent engagement, and a solid industry-led transition plan.”
Having met with key forestry businesses and, at the request of its own membership, C4G has invited major government stakeholders to meet with local representatives in early December.
“We need to talk frankly about timelines and effective regional development, maximising new market opportunities while leveraging existing business and industry capability, and the need to ensure the sourcing of fibre is sustainable no matter what its origin.
Ms Oakley concluded, “There are challenges and opportunities ahead and we look forward to the collaboration of government, business, academia and community in planning for the immediate and the long-term future of the forestry sector and the region as a whole.”