Greens forests spokesperson, Senator Janet Rice has called on state and federal Labor governments to commit to ending native forest logging immediately and ensure a just transition for forestry workers that are about to face an uncertain future, with Australia’s largest white paper producing plant, set to close.
Lines attributable to Greens spokesperson for forests, Senator Janet Rice:
“The end of white paper production at the Maryvale paper mill shows the writing is on the wall for Victoria’s native forest logging industry.
“Unions believe about 200 people may become unemployed as a result of this closure. The mill should have been supported to transition away from woodchips from native forests well before now, for example, by using supplies of logs from eucalypt plantations from western Victoria and Tasmania that are currently being exported.
“Instead, workers will be left with the stress of job loss, in the midst of a cost of living crisis, wondering about their future.
The state government saw this coming but they chose to continue denying reality. With this woeful oversight by the state government, it’s time the federal government step up, commit to ending native forest logging across the country and ensure a just transition for workers.
“Recent supreme court cases have proven illegal logging and multiple breaches of state environment laws by VicForests, resulting in native forest logging operations grinding to a halt.
“Native forest logging is a dying industry and there’s no way around it.
“Labor has a choice. They can either begin a fair transition for workers, or they can keep their head in the sand and leave more workers stranded.
“The Greens will keep fighting to secure meaningful climate and environment legislation, which must include saving what remains of Australia's native forests and stopping the extinction of the iconic species that call these forests home.”